“CHAINS” is a brutally honest portrait of life after wrongful conviction, seen through the eyes of Barry Gibbs, a larger-than-life character who was framed for murder by Mafia Cops in the most notorious case of NYPD corruption. Equally humorous as it is heartbreaking, Barry’s story is one of trauma, redemption, and survival of the human spirit for a man who emerged from prison, and spent a decade searching for closure, only to find that the loss of freedom can never be undone. Picking up where every other wrongful conviction story leaves off, this raw and unfiltered narrative, shot over the course of a decade, forces the audience to walk in Barry’s shoes because to truly understand this surreal experience is to live it – day after day and over time.
Why I’m Making This Film
In 2008, when I met Barry Gibbs, I knew him as my sister Vanessa’s client, a man she’d helped free from prison, an Innocence Project Exonoree who was showing up at our East Village apartment because he had no where else to turn. At this point, I’ve been filming Barry’s story for a decade, I’ve seen him go from rags to riches, winning the largest civil rights settlement in New York, we’ve traveled on two cross country road-trips in his search for closure, I’ve been at his side in hospital beds and hotel rooms across the U.S, seen him reconnect with his son, break-up and make-up with his partner Myrna, bring his best friend home from prison, face his demons, extreme illness, psychotic episodes, and witnessed the most private and vulnerable moments in his life – even his death. I believe an intimate verite film like this has the power to truly humanize the issue of wrongful conviction, and its aftermath, in a way we have never seen before, and to serve as a serious tool for impact. I want this film to help turn the dial, and establish fair mandatory compensation laws nationwide, and to provide services for individuals after they are exonerated. I want people to watch this film, and understand that the trauma of wrongful conviction doesn’t stop at the prison gate, and that it’s our responsibility to restore the lives of wrongfully convicted individuals to the best of our ability.
Since 2008 I’ve worked on this film solo – producing, directing and filming on my own. As the project has moved into post, I’ve brought on an extraordinary team of creatives to support the project, including Executive Producers Katie Couric, Tony Goldwyn, and Sanaa Hamri. We are currently partnering with a producing company and raising funds to begin the edit ASAP through our kickstarter campaign – https://kck.st/2Q2WKTy – please help bring this important story to life by donating and spreading the word !
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