Monday, March 10, 2008

"Death House Door" targets capital punishment

By John DeFore
26 minutes ago

AUSTIN, Texas (Hollywood Reporter) -
The documentary makers
behind "Hoop Dreams" and "Stevie" turn their lens on capital
punishment in "At the Death House Door," which will electrify
audiences on the activist and festival circuits. It premiered
at the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival.

Pickett's self-administered therapy through the years has
been an audio diary: cases full of audiocassettes that he makes
after each execution. As he picks through the tapes, Pickett
recalls details that stirringly drive home his unique

The filmmakers alternate Pickett's tale with that of a man
executed on his watch: Carlos De Luna, who seems now almost
certainly innocent of the crime for which he was condemned.

The investigation into his wrongful conviction (conducted
by Chicago Tribune reporters) has blood-boiling dramatic
potential, but the filmmakers play this angle down, using it
mainly to bolster Pickett's recent anti-death-penalty activism.

The result is a picture whose appeal might not be as broad
as some of the team's earlier work (or of Errol Morris' "The
Thin Blue Line") but is strong enough in its content that it
could sway fence-sitters on the issue.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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