When the appeals are exhausted, the “guilty” verdict upheld and the time on death row spent, onlookers may think of a convicted murderer’s execution as the end of the story.
For film writer-director Patty Ann Dillon, that’s where the story begins. She spent more than five years traveling around the country, speaking to the executioners about the effects their job had on their lives.
The result is the documentary “There Will Be No Stay,” described on its fundraising website as “a journey of compassion and consequence through a process shrouded in secrecy.”
“Making a movie about a process that no one ever wants to talk about is a bit of a struggle considering, well, no one wants to talk about it,” the film’s site says. “… Patty eventually found two men, Bax (Craig Baxley) and Terry (Bracey), who were willing to invite her into their deeply private lives and go on the record about how they became executioners, what the job is truly like, and how it changed their lives forever.”
“I still have nightmares,” he told the BBC in 2014 of his time as corrections commissioner in Georgia. “It’s the most premeditated form of murder you can possibly imagine, and it stays in your psyche forever.”
Dillon will discuss the film with viewers after a 6 p.m. screening Wednesday at the Nickelodeon Theatre, 1607 Main St. The screening is in partnership with Justice360, a South Carolina nonprofit that advocates for a fair criminal justice system for capital defendants.
Tickets are $10 per person at nickelodeon.org. The box office opens 30 minutes before showtime. The film has not been rated.