2016 WTI Film
“The Gathering” tells the story of Witness to Innocence, the largest organization of death row exonerees in the country. These innocent men and women, some having spent decades on death row for murders they didn’t commit, come together once a year to share their thoughts and feelings, fears and dreams with the only people who really understand what they experienced. Their stories are heartbreaking, shocking and anger-provoking. The exonerees empower each other, speaking out about a broken justice system that makes mistakes and compels them to be warriors against the death penalty. Meet 16 exonorees, a diverse group brought together by a common experience, a unique family to whom no one chooses to belong. They bare their souls, forever changed by the degradation they suffered. Like Anthony Ray Hinton who spent 30 years on death row, released only six months before the filming. And Debra Milke who spent 22 years on death row, joining the others at her first Gathering. These exonerees are passionate about telling their stories. They want the system changed so a competent defense doesn’t depend on money and racial bias is eliminated. They want dishonest prosecutors and police held accountable. They want compensation for the years lost. They want their dignity restored. They know the risk of executing an innocent person is too high.
Micki Dickoff, Director-Writer-Producer-Editor
Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Micki Dickoff has made social justice films for four decades. Her work addresses subjects like AIDS, human rights, racism, poverty, the justice system and the death penalty. Micki’s award-winning films have been screened at festivals worldwide, broadcast on national and international television and released theatrically to positive reviews by top critics, including A.O. Scott of The New York Times and Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times. Her documentaries include Neshoba: The Price of Freedom and Too Little, Too Late, and dramas Mother, Mother and In the Blink of an Eye. Micki was chosen for the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women where she developed Mother, Mother. She was selected by the State Department for the American Documentary Showcase to teach filmmaking and screen her work in Kenya. Micki was among three finalists for the prestigious Humanitas Prize for her civil rights film, Neshoba. Micki taught television and film at Emerson College in Boston and is a member of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and the International Documentary Association (IDA).
“Stunning portrayal of the human drama lived by death row exonerees…a powerful and thought-provoking film”
– David O’Sullivan, Ambassador and Head of the European Union Delegation to the U.S.
“The frightening, heartbreaking and powerful stories of injustice should make everyone rethink the death penalty…each of their stories inspires humility as well as the highest lesson of humanity.”
– Nathalie Broadhurst, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of France
“A harrowing yet beautiful film…a must see film for anyone who cares about justice in this country.”
– Brian Stolarz, Attorney/ Author, Grace and Injustice on Death Row: The Race against Time and Texas to Free an Innocent Man
"The Gathering is remarkable for its strength and warmth…..the film leaves a very strong impression on the viewer, speaking volumes about the resilience of the human spirit."
– Debra Davy, Splash Magazine, Chicago
"Rousing documentary…..the emotional testimonials flesh out ideas only hinted at by the talking heads in Ava DuVernay’s 13th. This is a call to action. Indeed, to war."
– Ian Simmons, Kicking the Seat, Chicago
"Powerful documentary…..moving and disturbing."
– John Bachtell, People’s World
Best Short Documentary, Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival
Award of Merit, Best Shorts Competition, Social Justice Category
Remi Award, 50th Worldfest/Houston
5/13/17 – “The Gathering” featured at Black International Cinema in Berlin, Germany on Saturday, May 13th at 4:00 PM at the Haus der Demokratie und Menschrechte, Greifswalder Str. 4, 10405 Berlin.Germany. Free Admission.http://www.black-international-cinema.com/BIC17/32.BlackInternationalCinemaBerlin2017_FestivalProgram.pdf
3/15/17 - "The Gathering" featured at the Socially Relevant Film Festival, Wednesday, March 15th at 4 PM at Cinepolis Chelsea in New York City. Death row exoneree Paris Powell, filmmaker Micki Dickoff, and WTI Executive Director Magdaleno "Leno" Rose-Avila will be in attendance. Click here for tickets.
3/12/17 - "The Gathering" featured in the Omaha Film Festival's "short film block #11 - documentaries" on Sunday, March 12th at 11:45 AM at the Village Pointe Cinema in Omaha. Death row exoneree Juan Melendez will be in attendance. Click here for tickets.
3/11/17 - "The Gathering" featured in the Peace on Earth Film Festival, Saturday, March 11th at 6:20 PM as part of the "short film program #3" at the Music Box Theater in Chicago. Death row exoneree Nate Fields, filmmaker Micki Dickoff, and WTI Executive Director Magdaleno "Leno" Rose-Avila will be in attendance and will be part of a Q&A following the film. Click here for tickets.
11/13/16: "The Gathering" featured at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. Filmmaker Micki Dickoff, WTI's Director Magdaleno "Leno" Rose-Avila, Florida death row exoneree Juan Melendez, and Ohio death row exoneree Kwame Ajamu will be in attendance!