A first-ever film effort by Dee Hibbert-Jones, UC Santa Cruz associate professor of art and digital art and new media, earned an Academy Award nomination for_ Last Day of Freedom_, a short-subject documentary. Her work also garnered a 2016 John Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship for film and video.
Six years in the making, in collaboration with San Francisco artist Nomi Talisman, the film tells the story of a man who turned in his war-haunted brother for committing murder.
“We wanted to reach behind the headline news and look at the effect of the death penalty on the families and communities left behind,” said Hibbert-Jones, a fine artist by training. They used animation to put psychological distance between the viewer and the powerful story, she explained. “My arts research has always crossed genres and borders. When I teach public art I explore the politics of public space, and I’m interested in the ways public and private lives impact and intersect,” she said.
Last Day of Freedom is the first in a trilogy of films planned about the criminal justice system. The documentary qualified for the nomination after winning the 18th annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival jury award for Best Short film.