TOUR DE FORCE PERFORMANCE — DEAD WOMEN WALKING AT THE TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

“This film is tearful, heart wrenching and riveting. My God, I did not know that women are being executed that often in the United States. The circumstance of these women stems from poverty, drugs, abuse, rape, incest and neglect. Dead Women Walking is about the real Me Too movement.”

STATE OF THE ARTS NYC

Nine vignettes that tell the stories of women facing execution in the United States. As the film moves closer and closer to a real execution, we learn about these women but their caretakers — family, fellow inmates, prison guards and administrators. A real glimpse inside our incarceration system. The director should be commended for this fictionalized tale that sheds light on a subject rarely if ever discussed.

FILM OVERVIEW

Dead Women Walking traces the final days of a series of women on death row, from two weeks before one inmate’s execution to mere minutes before another’s. As these narratives develop, the human toll of the death penalty—not only on the women convicted of violent crimes, but also on their families, prison officials, and ministers and counselors coaching them through their final days—comes into clear focus. There’s Wendy, for example, whose mother declines to visit her the day before her execution; Helen, who meets her 18-year-old son (Moonlight’s Ashton Sanders) for the first time since he was adopted shortly after her imprisonment; and Celine, who watches a documentary about her case and conviction while having her last meal.

Looming over Dead Women Walking are two questions: Why did they do it? And, more implicit and rarely asked: How does society grapple with women’s violence? There’s little clemency to be found for viewer and subjects in director Hagar Ben-Asher’s unflinching, nuanced film, which sheds light on the death penalty by using these microscopic narratives to ask macroscopic questions.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Born in Israel, Hagar Ben-Asher received a film degree from the Minshar School of Art in 2007. Her film, Pathways, premiered at the Cinéfondation in Cannes in 2007. Her feature debut, The Slut, which she wrote, directed, and starred in, also premiered at Cannes, and, in 2016, she released her most recent feature film, The Burglar.

CAST & CREDITS
  • Director:
    Hagar Ben Asher
  • Producer:
    Clara Levy, Lorne Hiltser, Michael M. McGuire
  • Screenwriter:
    Hagar Ben Asher
  • Cinematographer:
    David Stragmeister
  • Executive Producer:
    Patrick Holzman, Philippe Haim, David Gitlis
  • Co-Producer:
    Marina Stabile
  • US Distributor:
    blackpills
  • Cast:
    Dale Dickey, Dot Marie Jones, Lynn Collins, Colleen Camp, Joy Nash, June Carryl, Maya Lynne Robinson, Maya Eschet, Jeryl Prescott

Photo images: June Carryl, Joy Nash, Bess Rous

  

Female executions 1900 – 2015.
Name Approx
Age
State Execution date
mm/dd/yy
Method Race Crime
Dora Wright 38 Oklahoma 07/17/03 Hanging Black Murder of a seven year old girl.
Mary Rogers 23 Vermont 12/08/05 Hanging White Murder of husband.
Mary O’Brien Farmer 29 New York 03/29/09 Electrocution White Ax murder of neighbor.
Virginia Christian 17 Virginia 08/16/12 Electrocution Black Murder of Mrs. Ida Virginia Belote.
Pattie Perdue Mississippi 01/13/22 Hanging Black Murder of white man.
Ann Knight Mississippi 10/13/22 Hanging Black Murder of husband.
Ruth Snyder 32 New York 01/12/28 Electrocution White Murder of husband.
Ada LeBoeuf 38 Louisiana 02/01/29 Hanging White Contract murder of husband.
Selena Gilmore Alabama 01/24/30 Electrocution Black Shooting murder of waiter.
Eva Dugan 51 Arizona 02/21/30 Hanging White Murder of employer.
Irene Schroeder 22 Pennsylvania 02/23/31 Electrocution White Shooting of policeman.
Anna Antonio 28 New York 09/08/34 Electrocution White Contract killing of husband.
Julia Moore Louisiana 02/08/35 Hanging Black Murder of Elliot Wilson.
May Carey 55 Delaware 06/07/35 Hanging White Murder of her brother.
Eva Coo 40 New York 06/27/35 Electrocution White Murder of lodger.
Mary Francis Creighton 38 New York 07/16/35 Electrocution White Poisoning of landlady.
Mary Holmes 35 Mississippi 04/29/37 Hanging Black Robbery murder of her employer.
Marie Porter 38 Illinois 01/28/38 Electrocution White Murder of her brother.
Anna Marie Hahn 32 Ohio 12/07/38 Electrocution White Poisoning for gain.
Ethel Juanita Spinelli 52 California 11/21/41 Lethal gas (first) White Murder of a member of her gang.
Toni Jo Henry 26 Louisiana 11/28/42 Electrocution White Shot a man in a vain attempt to free her husband from prison.
Rosanna Phillips 26 N. Carolina 01/01/43 Lethal gas Black Axe murder of employer.
Sue Logue 43 S. Carolina 01/15/43 Electrocution White Murder of sheriff.
Mildred Johnson 23 Mississippi 05/19/44 Electrocution Black Beat her landlady to death.
Helen Fowler 36 New York 11/16/44 Electrocution Black Robbery/murder of customer.
Bessie Mae Smith (Williams) 19 N. Carolina 29/12/44 Lethal gas Black Murder of a taxi driver.
Lena Baker 44 Georgia 03/05/45 Electrocution Black Shooting her employer.
Pardoned in 2005
Corinne Sykes 20 Pennsylvania 10/14/46 Electrocution Black Stabbing her employer
Rosa Marie Stinette 49 S. Carolina 01/17/47 Electrocution Black Contract killing of husband
Louise Peete 64 California 04/11/47 Lethal gas White Shooting of lady supervising her parole.
Martha Jule Beck 30 New York 03/08/51 Electrocution White Drowning a child
Ethel Rosenberg 38 Federal
(New York)
06/19/53 Electrocution White Espionage. Executed with her husband, Julius.
Earle Dennison 55 Alabama 09/04/53 Electrocution White Poisoning of niece.
Bonnie Brown Heady 41 Federal (Missouri) 12/18/53 Lethal gas White Kidnap & murder of a 6 year old boy. Executed with her lover, Carl Hall
Blanch “Dovie” Dean 54 Ohio 01/15/54 Electrocution White Poisoned her husband.
Betty Butler 26 Ohio 06/12/54 Electrocution Black Murder of lesbian friend.
Barbara Graham 32 California 06/03/55 Lethal gas White Robbery murder.
Rhonda Belle Martin 50 Alabama 10/11/57 Electrocution White Poisoning husband, plus 5 others.
Elizabeth Duncan 58 California 08/08/62 Lethal gas White Murder of daughter in law.
Velma Barfield 52 N. Carolina 11/02/84 Lethal Injection White Poisoning of husband(s).
Karla Faye Tucker 37 Texas 02/03/98 Lethal Injection White Pick ax murders.
Judias Buenoano 54 Florida 03/30/98 Electrocution White Husband murders.
Betty Lou Beets 62 Texas 02/24/00 Lethal Injection White Husband murders.
Christina Riggs 28 Arkansas 05/03/00 Lethal Injection White Murder of her two children.
Wanda Jean Allen 41 Oklahoma 01/11/01 Lethal Injection Black Murder of her lesbian lover.
Marilyn Kay Plantz 40 Oklahoma 05/01/01 Lethal Injection White Contract killing of her husband.
Lois Nadean Smith 61 Oklahoma 12/04/01 Lethal Injection White Murder of son’s former girlfriend.
Lynda Lyon Block 54 Alabama 05/10/02 Electrocution White Murder of police officer.
Aileen Wournoss 46 Florida 10/09/02 Lethal Injection White Serial killer of seven men.
Frances Newton 40 Texas 09/14/05 Lethal Injection Black Murder of her husband & 2 children.
Teresa Lewis 41 Virginia 09/23/10 Lethal Injection White Contract killing of her husband & stepson.
Kimberly McCarthy 52 Texas 06/26/13 Lethal Injection Black Robbery murder of elderly neighbor.
Suzanne Basso 59 Texas 02/05/14 Lethal Injection White Torture murder of her “boyfriend” for gain.
Lisa Ann Coleman 38 Texas 09/17/14 Lethal Injection Black Murder of her girlfriend’s son
Kelly Renee Gissendaner 47 Georgia 09/30/15 Lethal Injection White Contract killing of her husband.

 

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