Ahead of its world premiere at the American Black Film Festival on June 17th, here is the first look teaser clip from Zodiac Features’ new biographical true crime docu-thriller, Lovely Jackson, the feature film directorial debut from filmmaker Matt Waldeck, (“I See You”).
Focused on America’s longest wrongfully held exonerated prisoner, Rickey Jackson, returns to the actual prison where his 39-year journey of survival began in 1976 and guides his younger self from death row to freedom while facing his real-life accusers along the way along with critical assistance from The Ohio Innocence Project
In 1975 Young Rickey and his two friends are convicted of the robbery and murder of Harold Franks without any physical evidence and based largely on the coerced false eye-witness testimony of then 12-year-old neighborhood paperboy, Young Edward Vernon. At just eighteen-years-old, Rickey is sentenced to die in the electric chair. He spends two and a half years on death row and sees a number of his fellow death row inmates complete the “Death Walk”, the name given by the condemned to the “last thirty steps of your life” before getting strapped in to ride the lighting and die. Rickey is just 82 days away from death by electrocution when miraculously, executions in Ohio are temporarily outlawed and all death sentences are commuted to life in prison. Rickey stays alive for now, but before him lay a different challenge—surviving general population in Ohio’s most dangerous prison.
Lovely Jackson is exonerated prisoner Rickey Jackson’s daring first-hand account of the psychology of survival and spiritual fortitude required to withstand 39 years of wrongful incarceration for a murder he didn’t commit. At the time of his release in 2014, Rickey was the longest wrongfully incarcerated person in U.S. history—spending 39 years on death row and in Ohio’s most dangerous prisons after being convicted solely on the coerced eye-witness testimony of a 12-year-old neighborhood paper boy.
Lovely Jackson sees Rickey return to the prison where he was sent in 1976 on his way to the electric chair where he narrates and stars in reenactments alongside professional actors (one playing his younger self), and the (then) 12-year-old paper boy, now in his late 50’s.
Lovely Jackson is a boldly cinematic, epic journey that begins in tragedy, hopelessness, injustice, and death, but ends in hope, beauty, and new life.
Watch the teaser clip from Lovely Jackson.