R. Ben Loeterman, , Documentary, 85' min., U.S., 2009.
Friday, 25. May at 14:15 / Cinema Europa
In 1913 Atlanta, 13-year old Mary Phagan was found dead in the basement of the National Pencil Company. The police soon focused on her boss, Leo Frank. Frank’s murder trial quickly descended into a free-for-all of racial stereotypes, hearsay testimony and mind-boggling contradictions. With no physical evidence connecting Frank to the crime, he was found guilty and sentenced to death largely on the say of a black factory sweeper, Jim Conley.
The conviction was appealed to the US Supreme Court, and the New York Times made Frank’s plight a cause celebrè, to no avail. Then, the day before he was to hang, Georgia’s Governor John Slaton concluded in an astonishing turnaround that Frank had not received a fair trial and commuted his sentence to life in prison. Slaton’s decision inflamed tempers. On a hot August afternoon, twenty-five men drove 150 miles to the state penitentiary in Milledgeville, walked in and abducted Frank.
- Special Jury Award from History Makers