Title: The Road to Livingston
Date: Thursday, April 17
Time: 5:30 pm
Place: Tapps Art Center
-Only that I’ve lived in Austin, Texas, since 2003. Originally, I’m a yankee – born in Massachusetts and raised in New Hampshire. But, like the bumper sticker says, I wasn’t born in the south but I got here as soon as I could.2. Where did you get your inspiration for this work?
-I went to a university panel in 2004 about the families of prison inmates – specifically those on death row. There, I met Delia, whose brother Louis had been incarcerated since being convicted of murdering two women and one child in 1999. Her story, that she makes the 4-hour drive from Austin to visit Louis at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston almost every weekend, seemed incredible to me so I asked her if I could tag along for a few trips. This turned in to over 5 years of shooting and a documentary about her journey and the friends, family and supporters of prisoners whom she has met along the way.
3. How did you start making films?
-I began as a writer at Plymouth State College in Plymouth, New Hampshire. After graduation I pursued journalism, working as a daily reporter for The Citizen newspaper in Laconia, NH. During this time, I was developing ideas for stories that I thought I could make into movies. Without a film community to support these ambitions, however, I decided to go back to school to learn the process of filmmaking. I graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in 2000 and moved to Austin shortly afterwards. I’ve been making movies in Central Texas ever since.
4. Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?
-We were shooting with Delia during the scheduled execution of Hank Skinner. We were about to leave the hotel in Huntsville (where the state executes the prisoners) and head down to the Walls Unit with Mr. Skinner’s wife and a large group of friends and supporters. As we walked out the door Mr. Skinner’s lawyer got a call from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – his execution had been delayed. There was a lot of emotion released in those initial moments when we found out the news.
5. What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?
-Visiting South Carolina for the first time and meeting the other filmmakers. Of course, I can’t wait for our screening!
6. Why should someone see your film?
-I think the issue of the death penalty often comes down to people’s emotional response to the broad question of whether someone who takes a life should have their life taken. While ‘an eye for an eye’ may seem reasonable on the surface, things become more complicated when you find out how many people are affected by an inmate’s execution who have never committed any crimes. Hopefully, our movie will be able to provide some grey to a topic that many people feel is either black or white.