Truth can be more surreal than fiction, and An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story proves it. Wrongly convicted in 1986 for the brutal murder of his wife, Morton spent 25 years in Texas prisons before Houston attorney John Raley and members of the New York-based The Innocence Project won the right to test DNA evidence found at the murder scene that ultimately exonerated him and identified the real killer. Upon his release in 2011, Morton riveted the world with his lack of bitterness or anger, as he focused his future on fighting for legal reform and reaching out to his estranged son.
Variety critic Joe Leydon observes that “the film’s title comes from a 1923 quote by Justice Learned Hand: ‘Our procedure has been always haunted by the ghost of the innocent man convicted. It is an unreal dream.’ This fine SXSW Documentary Spotlight audience award-winner makes the nightmare quite real.”
Director Al Reinert is a two-time Oscar nominee, as a documentary filmmaker (For All Mankind) and as a screenwriter (Apollo 13), and his storytelling prowess is evident in this compelling tale of justice miscarried. As the filmmakers note, “Morton’s unreal dream was and is a powerful journey through despair and abandonment to a greater freedom than most of us know, but all can appreciate.”
November 1–December 4
Esperson Gallery, 815 Walker, suite 125
Person | Provenance: Impression includes works by Kent Schaffer, Jen Hannaford, and Kelley Devine. Schaffer, who is a criminal defense attorney in addition to being an artist, captures his subjects through photography on metal and fiber paper. Hannaford’s Impressionist works are infused by her vocation as a forensic scientist/fingerprint. Schaffer is a producer of An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story.