At the Death House Door

Eye on the Oscars: Documentaries

COUNTRY: U.S.

DIRECTORS: Peter Gilbert and Steve James previously collaborated on “Hoop Dreams” and “Stevie.”

SUBJECT: Texas death-row chaplain Carroll Pickett, who presided over 95 executions, questions his belief in capital punishment after ministering to Carlos De Luna, one of his charges who was put to death for a crime he almost certainly didn’t commit.

FINANCING: Approximately $850,000 funded by IFC.

DISTRIB: Doc played in Los Angeles and New York in March and ran on IFC in May.

HELMER COMMENTS: “We were first approached about doing a film about Carlos De Luna … but when we heard about Pastor Pickett’s life journey, we felt that’s where the true heart of the story lay,” James says. “Pickett’s transformation from a death-penalty supporter to being against it was a long, complicated and compelling story.”

Says Gilbert, “What helped us decide to move forward was that we had extremely compelling personal stories to tell. We also felt strongly that we could expose the audience to a different view of the death penalty through the eyes of the people who truly witnessed and participated in them.”

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