Last Day of Freedom
SaturDay | Screen 3 | 5:00 PM
SunDAY | SCREEN 3 | 3:50 PM
When Bill Babbitt realizes his brother Manny has committed a crime he agonizes over his decision — should he call the police? Last Day of Freedom is a richly animated personal narrative that tells the story of Bill’s decision to stand by his brother, a Veteran returning from war, as he faces criminal charges, racism, and ultimately the death penalty. The film is a portrait of a man at the nexus of the most pressing social issues of our day- entrenched racism, veteran’s rights, mental health care and criminal justice.
Run time: 32 mins
Cast & Credits
Dee Hibbert-Jones / Nomi Talisman
DEE HIBBERT-JONES / NOMI TALISMAN
We imagined back then almost four years ago that we would make a video installation exploring multiple families’ experiences, for exhibition in museums and galleries as we had done before. Then we met Bill, hearing his story we suddenly knew we had to make a linear documentary, to tell his complex and painful story of war veterans, PTSD, racism, the failures in the American criminal injustice system, family bonds and the death penalty.
Initially we chose animation to retain the anonymity of several early storytellers, but as time went on and our film focused on Bill’s story we realized the power of animation to open up new perspectives. We wanted to bring viewers intimately close to Bill, to witness each tear and wrinkle, to evoke metaphors of loss and isolation, and document both the outer and interior lives of his remarkable, and terrible story. There are 32 thousand drawings in Last Day of Freedom, this project took longer than any other project we have undertaken, involved more drawing, edits, rewrites and generous support than anything we have ever created. It is, to date the work we are proudest of. We are deeply grateful to Bill Babbitt for his openness, love and generosity in sharing his story. And also to the other families we interviewed, we are still in the process of creating a site for their stories.