An American Tragedy
Lisa Rhoden Boyd, David Boyd (executive) for MountainTop Films
directed by Lisa Rhoden Boyd
starring Jim Hall, Kelli Hall, Sue King, Stephen Hall, Tim Parres, Jeffrey Ferguson, Jennifer Ferguson, Troy Steele, Pat McCarrick, Andy Daus, Melvin Skein
written by Lisa Rhoden Boyd, music by Tony Humecke, Zachary Galanis, Bridget Galanis
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In a wintery night in 1989, gas station attendant Kelli Hall was
abducted from her workplace just minutes before her shift would have
ended, for her strangled body to be found 13 days later, hidden behind an
abandoned barn. Her body shows evidence of rape, and her kidnapper, rapist
and killer is rather quickly found, one Jeffrey Ferguson, a notorious drug
user with not much of a criminal record, but not well liked in his
neighbourhood. He's convicted to death in 1992 (and again in 1996 due to a
technicality in the first trial), but isn't executed until 26 years later.
those are the hard facts, all of which are laid out to some detail in the
movie, but it's not what the film's really about, rather it's about
Jeffrey Ferguson's growth into a force of good in prison, even if there
was never a chance for him to get out, and also of Kelli's father Jim Hall
struggling to come to terms with his daughter's death, and at the
execution of Ferguson coming to the realisation that the man's death does
nothing to end the pain - and as a result he befriends Ferguson's daughter
Jennifer and becomes an activist against the death penalty ...
documentary with a rather unique perspective, as while it starts out as a
typical true crime film with plenty of vintage news footage, talking heads
and the like, it soon moves into a different direction, showing how the
aftermath of the crime has changed both the killer and the victim's father
- and the film does so in a refreshingly unexcited way, giving its
interviewees - mostly Jim Hall and Jeffrey and Jennifer Ferguson - their
room to breathe and telling their story their way. And the outcome is a
rather intimate piece that's almost sure to move its audience.