‘Rebel Nun’ Documentary Goals To Reinvigorate Push To Abolish Dying Penalty


Many People first realized about Sister Helen Prejean, the Catholic nun and outstanding dying penalty abolitionist, by means of the 1993 e-book, “Dead Man Walking,” and its acclaimed film adaptation two years later.

Greater than 30 years after Prejean’s e-book was revealed, a brand new documentary is providing a extra complete have a look at her life and work by means of a up to date lens.

Directed by Dominic Sivyer, “Rebel Nun” premiered Thursday on the 2024 Tribeca Movie Competition in New York. Actor Susan Sarandon, who received an Oscar for her portrayal of Prejean in “Dead Man Walking,” was anticipated to attend the debut screening. Two further screenings are set for Friday and Saturday.

Along with Sivyer, Prejean pored by means of 60 years price of non-public archives as she recollects key moments in her determination to hitch a Catholic non secular order within the mid-Fifties and, later, her rise to nationwide prominence as an unflinching opponent of the dying penalty within the ’80s.

The documentary “Rebel Nun,” which profiles dying penalty abolitionist Sister Helen Prejean, premiered Thursday on the 2024 Tribeca Movie Competition.

Common Footage Content material Group

A few of Prejean’s journey was beforehand documented in “Dead Man Walking.” Probably the most poignant scenes in “Rebel Nun” are those who zoom in Prejean’s newer work as a religious adviser to Richard Glossip, a dying row inmate in Oklahoma who has maintained his innocence all through a number of makes an attempt by the state to execute him.

As a part of Sivyer’s goal to supply a movie that “didn’t celebrate Sister Helen wholeheartedly,” there are additionally interviews with Prejean’s opponents, together with the sister of a girl who was sexually assaulted and murdered by Robert Lee Willie, a Louisiana serial killer. Willie, who partly impressed Sean Penn’s character within the movie adaptation of “Dead Man Walking,” was executed in 1984.

“I think she’s a true example of how you’ve got to keep fighting for what you believe in, no matter where you are in life,” Sivyer advised HuffPost in an interview. “To me, that’s hugely inspirational.”

He went on to notice: “We were both keen on showing both sides of the issues, and looking at areas of her life where she felt like she could have done something differently. But she never dictated how I should tell her story or what needed to be included. It’s very rare to be in a position where somebody gives you that freedom.”

"I try to make films about important social issues, but very much from a human perspective," filmmaker Dominic Sivyer, on left, said.
“I try to make films about important social issues, but very much from a human perspective,” filmmaker Dominic Sivyer, on left, mentioned.

Although Prejean, 85, was initially reluctant to “focusing so much on me and my life,” she got here round to the thought as soon as Sivyer satisfied her that “Rebel Nun” may probably reinvigorate the push to abolish the dying penalty.

“The thing about the death penalty is that it’s not like somebody dying in a hospital,” she advised HuffPost. “It’s the only time in our criminal justice system where the state actually imitates the crime to impose a punishment. We don’t burn people’s houses when they’re arrested for arson, but we’re going to kill you because you’ve killed. We’re imitating the worst possible human behavior to determine a punishment.”

As Sivyer awaits phrase on additional distribution plans for “Rebel Nun,” he’s already begun work on a brand new venture, presumably for Netflix.

“I never want to lecture an audience,” he mentioned. “I try to make films about important social issues, but very much from a human perspective. I want an audience to come to a conclusion about an issue through a person.”

In the meantime, Prejean has been busy writing her subsequent e-book, “Beneath Our Dignity,” a couple of Louisiana dying row inmate, Manuel Ortiz, now in his 60s.

“To really be alive is to have an intellectual life, a purpose in your life, people you’re involved with and good, noble causes that you’re working for,” she mentioned. “Otherwise, you’re going around half-dead before you die. I don’t want to die before I die.”

Share post:


Latest Article's

More like this