Justice League

Date: 23.01.2024
Category: Human Rights

This documentary will follow a pair of young law students as they embark on a mission to the deep south of the USA to research the wrongful execution of an innocent man.

Combining the elements of a road trip, a true crime mystery and a “Louis Theroux” style investigation the film will use humour, drama and suspense to show the flaws in a legal system which has executed over 1500 people since 1976.

Background

No one knows this system better than Clive Stafford Smith OBE who has spent his career representing over 400 people in death penalty cases in the US and around the world, as well as 87 of those tortured and rendered to Guantánamo Bay, along with assorted similar cases.

Clive founded the capital trial charity LCAC in New Orleans, and then the legal action charity Reprieve in London, and has now set up a new charity “Justice League” (formerly 3D Centre) in Dorset to help mentor young people into their “element” – the kind of work they would like to do for the next 40 years.

The Justice League Internship Scheme

Every year dozens of undergraduate students, mainly from the UK, spend 10-weeks as interns working on various actual human rights cases and projects under Clive’s direct supervision. Many of these interns will go on to spend further months in detailed research into a Post Mortem case, raising money to fund a 10 week fact-finding trip to the US the following summer. They raise money through fun sponsored events and crowdfunding for the flights and accommodation. The Justice League matches the funds raised.

Post-Mortem Campaign.

The “Post Mortem” campaign is aimed at exploring the potential innocence of a number of people among the 1536 executed in the US since 1976, when the US Supreme Court brought the death penalty moratorium to an end. The campaign is based on creating a case repository that will be made available to journalists, academics, documentary makers, podcasters and drama producers so that these stories can be more widely told, and these men and women finally get the hearing in the court of public opinion that they were denied in the courts of law.

“The Justice League” Documentary film

Clive’s interns are extremely bright, motivated, adventurous young people from a variety of backgrounds. We will follow the most charismatic ones as they prepare for, and then embark on their mission in Summer 2024. There will be humour in the young watching young students discover the deep south of the USA, there will be drama as they interview police and prosecutors involved in the flawed trials, emotionally charged moments with families, tense moments with suspected murderers and inevitably there will be surprises.

Concentrating on the unfolding narrative of the young researchers, will allow us to dip into the cases and pull out details of horrible injustices, but we won’t necessarily be bogged down by difficult complexities of legal process. We can sneak up on the injustices uncovered whilst the entertainment is coming from the overarching story of the internship.


The Team

This proposal has been written by producer / director Raj Yagnik, who has 25 years of experience creating documentary, comedy and campaign films across the globe. His credits include: In Their Own Words (UNICEF, 2017), Because I’m a Girl (Plan International 2014), Odessa Detectives (Al Jazeera, 2008) and Puppet Access TV (C4, 2003). You can find all of these films and others on wiredvideo.net.

Raj will work closely with Clive and his interns to assemble the best creative team to fulfil this project’s potential.

What we are looking for.

We are currently looking for five highly motivated media interns – students in documentary film or journalism – to join the law interns and document their ten week journey this summer.

Like the other interns, they would need to apply for a position and – if accepted – crowd-fund towards their travel and living expenses (typically about 1200 USD). Clive’s organisation, The Justice League, will then top this up (to around 3600USD) and help with accommodation.

In return they will receive the all professional guidance, training, equipment and support needed to allow them to record their trip faithfully. Invaluable experience for a young film-maker.

UPDATE

Sadly, due to circumstances beyond our control, the 2024 Media Intern Scheme has been cancelled. We are now hoping to run something in 2025.

If you are interested in the scheme, please send a little information about yourself to vacancies@wiredvideo.net