Independent Lens, True Stories
The subculture of the song-poem industry is where a dream and a song come together as people mail in poems to be set to music.
Exonerated ex-prisoners who started a detective agency work to rebuild their lives and fix the criminal justice system.
Director Jamie Meltzer’s feature documentary films have been broadcast nationally on PBS and have screened at numerous film festivals worldwide. They include Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story (Independent Lens, 2003) about the shadowy world of song-poems, Welcome to Nollywood,… an investigation into the wildly successful Nigerian movie industry (PBS broadcast, 2008), La Caminata (2009), a short film about a small town in Mexico that runs a simulated border crossing as a tourist attraction, and Informant, winner of four best documentary/grand jury awards at film festivals in 2012, about a revolutionary activist turned FBI informant, and which was released theatrically nationwide by Music Box Films in 2013. He teaches in the MFA Program in Documentary Film and Video at Stanford University.
Kate McLean is an award-winning writer and filmmaker. Her project Immigrant Nation was awarded the Tribeca Film Institute New Media grant and is slated to launch later this year. Her short film Pot Country screened at a number of festivals, including Hot Docs and Mill Valley International… Film Festival. Before that, she worked as an Associate Producer on 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.
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.
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 who were 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 firsthand 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 those they deemed wrongly accused who are still behind bars.
True Conviction 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.