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'Freedom Fighters' Documentary On Black-owned Detective Agency, Gets Its Funding!

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by Tambay A. Obenson
May 14, 2013 1:10 PM
13 Comments
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Just an update to report that the fundraising campaign for this was successful, squeaking by the $30,000 goal, to raise just over $31,000! Needless to say, I'm glad! It's a project I've been pushing for the last couple of weeks, and several of you came through, which is great!

Now we wait for the finished product, which I certainly hope delivers.

For those just joining us, here's a recap of the story...

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I love the idea (and I know some of you do as well) - not only the real-life agency/initiative, but also the film that's being made about it and the men who run it. In addition to this documentary, I think the story would make for wonderful material for a scripted fiction film.

The tagline reads: There's a new detective agency in Dallas, Texas, started by a group of exonerated men who have all spent decades in prison... for crimes they did not commit.

They call themselves the Freedom Fighters, and have tasked themselves with the job of freeing those who are wrongly serving sentences in prison for crimes they didn't commit. 

Timely and topical, especially in light of ongoing conversations about the disproportionately high number of black men in prison, measures like stop-and-frisk, and the recent release of The Central Park Five documentary - itself a story of young men who served lengthy sentences after being accused of a crime they didn't commit.

This documentary is named after the Freedom Fighters, and is described by the filmmaker, Jamie Meltzer, as a character-driven documentary that follows these change-makers as they rebuild their lives and families, learn to investigate cases, work to support each other, and campaign to fix the criminal justice system. The film will follow them as they learn the ropes of investigation -following leads, tracking down witnesses and finding out what kind of evidence will make a strong case in court - on their first cases.

The Freedom Fights, whose own wrongful convictions inspired them to create their detective agency, are:

- Christopher Scott was released from prison after serving 13 years of a life sentence for a murder he didn’t commit. This sounds like a nightmare, but it’s more common than you might think. 32 people like Chris have been exonerated in Dallas. Most of them are black men who were locked up in their youth and emerged in middle age looking for a way to make sense of what happened. One day at an exoneree support group meeting, an idea came to Chris: exonerees could become detectives, find other wrongfully convicted people sitting in prison, investigate their cases and prove their innocence. "I'm the go-getter, I'm the one that sets the standards, because I'm a leader - I lead by example." Chris was recently named Texan of the Year by the Dallas Morning News.

- Johnnie Lindsey, the most dapper member of the Freedom Fighters (Chris calls him “laid back… a real smooth operator.”), spent 26 years in prison for a sexual assault he didn't commit. As calm, cool, and collected as he is, Johnnie can get fired-up about all the wrongful convictions in Texas: “Something’s wrong, something's happening in Texas… they robbed us out of our lives - 26 years of my life… I was robbed.”

- Billy Smith was released in 2006 after spending two decades behind bars, after being wrongly identified and convicted for aggravated sexual assault. He knew his case had DNA evidence but it wasn’t until 2001, 15 years into his sentence, that prisoners could request DNA tests. Billy is still overcome with emotion at times when he looks at his front door, sees the doorknob on the inside, and realizes he can turn that knob and walk out anytime he wants to go. “There’s no bars there, no guards walking past my door. I can go out when I want to go out... I'm free.”

Watch the video pitch, as well as a preview trailer below for a glimpse at what to expect.


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13 Comments

  • time | January 10, 2014 11:00 PMReply

    #1remember its God battle not our battle.#2 keep the faith. I love everybody in the whole world and may the repent and love the one and only God!thats our only way to the king

  • time | January 10, 2014 10:57 PMReply

    #1remember its God battle not our battle.#2 keep the faith it goes all the i love everybody in the whole world and may the repent a love the one and only God!

  • ALM | May 15, 2013 3:01 PMReply

    Congrats gentlemen

  • Emanuel B. | May 14, 2013 1:52 PMReply

    Glad this got funded. Was happy to donate too. Keep sharing great projects like this.

  • dee | May 13, 2013 10:34 AMReply

    my interest has peaked

  • Donella | May 4, 2013 6:27 PMReply

    The revolution will be brought to you on IMAX.

  • BluTopaz | April 21, 2013 5:00 PMReply

    Definitely contributing to this one. Can't even imagine being unfairly locked up for almost 3 decades, and still being a "laid back, smooth operator" after release.

  • burp | April 19, 2013 8:08 PMReply

    sold...this is good

  • Geneva Girl | April 19, 2013 7:12 AMReply

    I have to see this. Please let us know when it comes on DVD because I know it won't come to Switzerland. Thanks.

  • Jamie | April 19, 2013 12:50 PM

    Order the DVD now, or digital download - by backing the project on Kickstarter!
    http://kck.st/10Nh6jd
    Thanks - Jamie

  • ScriptTease | April 19, 2013 6:25 AMReply

    "It was a N'ger." Wow, what an amazing documentary. I am looking forward to seeing this. The trailer sent chills through me.

  • Black Sun Tzu | April 19, 2013 1:02 AMReply

    Sold!!!

  • ALM | April 18, 2013 3:39 PMReply

    This is wonderful. The man in the grey gators is slaying the fashion game. LOL!!!

    Seriously, though. I wish them all of the success and blessings in the world.

    “There’s no bars there, no guards walking past my door. I can go out when I want to go out... I'm free.”

    Freedom is truly priceless.

    This is the type of cause that change.org petitions need to be about.

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