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23: The Tale of an Exoneree

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After enduring 23 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, Johnny Berry was one of 14 people exonerated in 2019 by the Philadelphia DA Office's new Conviction Integrity Unit. Thrust into a society which offers him little to no resources, Johnny's disturbingly common story urges us to examine the consequences of a justice system built around profit and punishment, and challenges us to imagine a better system -- one rooted in accountability, restitution, and rehabilitation.

Johnny Berry has waited decades to share his story, and it deserves to be told.
  He's placed an incredible amount of trust in us to bring his journey of exoneration to the surface. We are committed to helping Johnny produce this film to the best of our ability. It is paramount to us that we continue to thoroughly educate ourselves as artists, filmmakers, and advocates for change. Johnny and the production team hope that by illuminating the process of exoneration, we can educate viewers about the failings of the criminal industrial complex and inspire reform.

As of November 2020, we cannot move forward with production without your help. We've spent the last five months building out our team, researching, writing grant proposals, and strategizing how to best hit the ground running. Now, we need to adequately support the individuals working to bring Johnny's biography to the screen. Our ideal budget includes funding for COVID-19 testing, proper PPE, SD cards, batteries, legal fees, and wages for pre-production (research & budgeting), filming, and editing. It includes submission fees for festivals and competitions. AND it includes our monthly subscription to sites where we can share our progress with you!

Our total budget is currently $153,000, but we need about 25% of that to get started. Seems lofty? Not at all! By every professional guild's standards, we fall well within the Low-Budget category. We were originally expecting that filming would take up to 5 years, but we've shortened that timeline to fit with a new docu-series format. Now, we're trying to complete the series by January 1st, 2022.  We could potentially make the film for less money and in less time, however, this amount allows us to film without compromising our safety. The filmmakers on our team have agreed to work for far below minimum wage, even after the pandemic has already taken so much from independent artists, because they are passionate about bringing this series to you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing or giving to this film's launch.

Here's an idea of how far your contribution will go:
$15 - 1 hour of filming with 1 crew member
$25 - A 256 GB SD Card
$50 - 1 hour of filming with 3 crew members
$75 - Enough face-coverings for 50 days of filming
$100 - 1 day of filming with 1 crew member (almost)
$150 - Covers the cost of our website
$200 - 5 TB of storage for footage
$325 - Allows us to form an LLC
$400 - Covers the cost of research materials (books, screenings, academic journals, and primary sources) 
$500 - 1 day of filming with 4 crew members (including a meal!)
$1,000 - Pays our composer to write and record original music
$3,200 - Compensates Johnny for sharing his story with us
$30,000 - Pays our entire production team at a non-union rate for 1 year. #23documentary #johnnyberry


  • Anonymous
    • $1,000 
    • 3 yrs
  • Illuminate the Arts Grant pt.1
    • $400 
    • 3 yrs
  • Alex Bechtel
    • $50 
    • 3 yrs
  • Michael Johnson
    • $100 
    • 3 yrs
  • Dennis Tobin
    • $20 
    • 3 yrs


Zoe Feldman
Philadelphia, PA

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