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True Conviction

Synopsis

There's a new detective agency in Dallas, Texas, started by a group of exonerated men with decades in prison served between them.

Chris Scott was sitting in a support group meeting for men all bound together by the painful experience of wasting years in prison for crimes they didn't commit, when he was struck by a realization: there was a dream team right in front of him, ready to step into action. He and his friends had first-hand knowledge of how wrongful convictions happen. Together, they could start an investigative unit, a detective agency of sorts, to look for innocent people still incarcerated. They would draw from what they knew, as well as from the expertise of the attorneys who helped get them out of prison. Calling themselves the "Freedom Fighters," their goal would be to free the wrongly accused who are still behind bars.

This character-driven documentary 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.

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The Filmmakers

Jamie Meltzer Director

Jamie Meltzer's feature documentary films have been broadcast nationally on PBS and have screened at numerous film festivals worldwide. His current documentary project, TRUE CONVICTION (in post-production), is a co-production of ITVS and the recipient of a Sundance Institute grant and a MacArthur grant. INFORMANT (2012), about a revolutionary activist turned FBI informant, was released in theaters in the US and Canada in Fall 2013 by Music Box Films and KinoSmith. Previous films include: OFF THE CHARTS: THE SONG-POEM STORY (Independent Lens, 2003), about the shadowy world of song-poems, WELCOME TO NOLLYWOOD (PBS Broadcast, 2007), an investigation into the wildly successful Nigerian movie industry, and LA CAMINATA (2009), a short film about a small town in Mexico that runs a simulated border crossing as a tourist attraction. He teaches in the M.F.A. Program in Documentary Film and Video at Stanford University.

David Alvarado Producer

David Alvarado is a documentary filmmaker with a passion for science, philosophy, and human rights. His feature documentary THE IMMORTALISTS premiered at SXSW in 2014. He operates Structure Films, a start-up documentary film company in New York that focuses on how science and technology are transforming society. He began his career at PBS station KERA in Dallas, Texas, and earned his M.F.A. from Stanford University's Documentary Film program.

Kate McLean Producer

Kate McLean is a writer, filmmaker and documentary producer based in San Francisco. She's currently producing the forthcoming PBS documentary TRUE CONVICTION about a group of exonerees who form their own detective agency, as well as IMMIGRANT NATION, an interactive project supported by the Tribeca Film Institute and the MacArthur Foundation. She co-directed the short documentary THE CARETAKER, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and was featured in the New York Times' OpDocs series. She also co-directed POT COUNTRY, which screened at Hot Docs and Mill Valley International Film Festival. Before that, she associate produced the PBS special THE BOTANY OF DESIRE, adapted from Michael Pollan's book of the same name. She has a master's degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.