Inspired by documentaries like “The Thin Blue Line,” director Andrew Jenks set out to free wrongfully convicted Ryan Ferguson. And even though Ferguson was given back his freedom, Jenks wants you to know this story does not have a happy ending.
What’s your film about in 140 characters or less?
After his son is convicted of murder based on a dream, Bill Ferguson takes on a formidable opponent: the American judicial system.
Now what’s it REALLY about?
If you and a friend did some research, found out about an unsolved murder, and then told the government or police that you knew who did it, that person can be – with ease – convicted and put in maximum security prison for the rest of their life and/or face the death penalty. This film proves it can happen to anybody, of any ethnicity or socioeconomic background.
Tell us briefly about yourself.
Biggest challenge in completing this film?
What do you want the Tribeca audience to take away from your film?
Any films inspire you?
Movie script, 2 TV scripts in development, few docs, and open to any and all ideas. We also have a short film in the festival called ‘All-American Family’ –- which is about one of California’s best high school football teams, and a family that for 4 generations have always had a star athlete/student on the team…And everyone is deaf: the team, the school, the family, much of the community.
What cameras did you shoot on?
Canon EOS 5D Mark III. And that was our DP, Mike Edmund’s, decision (with the budget that we had). Mike is the one who made this ‘a film’. By that I mean, we were lucky to have so much old home video tapes, but then also footage from the interrogation room, the court hearings, archival/found footage that related to the case, access to Ryan in prison, etc. Mike was able to soak in this pre-existing footage and use his vision to create his own character, which is Colombia, Missouri. He created this. He’d stay up all night, find places in town that only locals would know about, and lifted the documentary in a special way.
Did you crowdfund?
If so, via what platform. If not, why?
We went back and forth on this. It was hard to think of using a crowdfund platform for the film when, if we were to be raising money for anything, it felt like it should be for Ryan, his release, or to help others wrongly incarcerated. But that is why Chip Rosenbloom is the best producer one could have. He put Ryan, his life, and in turn, the integrity of the film above all else.
Did you go to film school? If so, which one?
Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2015 festival. For profiles go HERE.