• Directors Statement:

Last Day of Freedom began when Nomi came home with stories from her (then) day job working as a media specialist for a non-profit doing mitigation work for trials on capital cases. She described families struggling to manage feelings of shock, shame and fear after their loved ones were accused of a capital crime. Innocent family members trying to see the truth and understand what went wrong. We asked those families to tell their stories, to describe perspectives that are rarely, if ever heard.

We imagined back then almost four years ago that we would make a video installation exploring multiple families’ experiences, for exhibition in museums and galleries as we had done before. Then we met Bill, hearing his story we suddenly knew we had to make a linear documentary, to tell his complex and painful story of war veterans, PTSD, racism, the failures in the American criminal injustice system, family bonds and the death penalty.­

Initially we chose animation to retain the anonymity of several early storytellers, but as time went on and our film focused on Bill’s story we realized the power of animation to open up new perspectives. We wanted to bring viewers intimately close to Bill, to witness each tear and wrinkle, to evoke metaphors of loss and isolation, and document both the outer and interior lives of his remarkable, and terrible story. There are 32 thousand drawings in Last Day of Freedom, this project took longer than any other project we have undertaken, involved more drawing, edits, rewrites and generous support than anything we have ever created. It is, to date the work we are proudest of. We are deeply grateful to Bill Babbitt for his openness, love and generosity in sharing his story. And also to the other families we interviewed, we are still in the process of creating a site for their stories.

Dee Hibbert-Jones & Nomi Talisman
July 2015

• Bios Producers-Directors:
Dee Hibbert-Jones & Nomi Talisman are artist/filmmakers who tell stories that bring to life larger issues of criminal justice and civic responsibility. Their work investigates the ways individuals manage power systems from the mundane to the extreme. They blend animation and documentary forms to challenge entrenched attitudes and move beyond dehumanizing statistics, engendering empathy and critical reflection. The filmmaker team created all key animations on the 32 thousand drawings in Last Day of Freedom. Their collaborative film and media projects have been exhibited and screened in Europe, Israel, Japan and the U.S. in museums and international festivals such as Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Art in General (NYC), The Israeli Center for Digital Art, Tokyo Zokei Museum and international screenings and exhibitions in the US, Canada, Japan, Israel and Europe. Their recent grants and awards include Cal Humanities Documentary Grant, MacDowell Colony Fellowship, Center for Cultural Innovation Award, Pacific Pioneer Fund, Creative Work Fund Grant, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Award & Residency, NEA project award and BAVC Media Maker Fellowship. Their current film project Last Day of Freedom won the Jury Award for Best Short at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival this year – a coveted award for the top short subject documentary. The film also won the Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award at Full Frame, then received the Justice for All Award at the (In) Justice Film Festival and most recently the audience award at SF Doc Fest. Dee is an Associate Professor of Art & New Media at the University of California Santa Cruz. Nomi is a freelance editor and media specialist. Born in the UK and Israel respectively they now live in San Francisco.
Last Day of Freedom is their first documentary film.


Last Day of Freedom – Credits:

Produced and Directed by Dee Hibbert-Jones & Nomi Talisman

Executive Producers
Vivian Kleiman
Pamela Harris
Corey Tong
Alex Austin

Associate Producer
Penelope Wong

Principal cinematography
Nomi Talisman

Editing, Key Animation and Design
Dee Hibbert-Jones Nomi Talisman

Consulting Editor
Robert Arnold

Consulting Editor and Story Advisor
Elizabeth Finlayson

Production Consultant
Marcia Jarmel

Nicole Chu
Tony Coleman
Olivia Healy-Mirkovich
Teresa Richardson

Additional Animation
• Rafael Antonio Arana • Haley Jensen • Jennifer Panush • Dylan Parsi-Almeida • Anna Perez Lopez • Mauricio Ramirez • Amanda Ross • Leah Stemman • Will Ward • Dmitri Zurita

Original Music Composed and Preformed by
Fred Frith

Music Recording and Mix
Myles Boysen Guerilla Recording Oakland, CA

Sound Design and Mix
Jeremiah Moore

Dialogue Editing
Andrew Roth

Technical Consultant
Adam Gerardin

Julie Lagarde

Legal representation
The Austin Law Group

Archival footage
The Internet Archive
Sacramento Union Archives Special Collections, University of California Davis

Additional Assistance
Greta Albog-Volper • Richard Desanto • Jacob Eades • Scott French
• Joshua Hurwirtz • Will Lee • Maya Manvi • Augustus Thompson

Mona Cadena
Troy Duster
Amie Fishman
Craig Haney
David Onek
Susan Rutberg
Austin Sarat
Nancy Stoller
Michael Thompson
Estrus Tucker
Patricia J. Williams
Frank Zimring

Special Thanks To
• Jonathan Archer • Sara Bolder • Lisa Kleiner Chanoff • Laurie Coyle
• Janeil Engelstad• Jen Gilomen • Abby Ginzberg • Marcia Jarmel • Tim Kochis
• John Lightfoot• Perrin Meyer • Katya Min • Laura Nix • Michela Leslie-Rule
• Ken Schneider• Beate Ross Smith • Lara Spengler • Michael Trigilio
• Lewis Watts • Julie Wyman • Ana Zamora • Elizabeth Zitrin

Special thanks for their support
Inclusive PR – Mickey Cottrell, John McAvoy
Larsen Associates – Karen Larsen, Vince Johnson
Adam J. Segal The 2050 Group

Special thanks for their support and generosity
KQED Truly CA team – Lisa Landi, Katie Koskenmaki and Aldo Mora-Blanco

Our grateful thanks to Community Resource Initiative & Scarlet Nerad

This project was made possible with support from Cal Humanities, in partnership with the NEH.
Experience more at www.calhum.org

Supported by

The Center for Cultural Innovation Investing in the Artist Grant

The Creative Work Fund (a program of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, & the James Irvine Foundation)

The Embrey Family Foundation

Left Tilt Fund

Pacific Pioneer Fund

San Francisco Arts Commission Artist Fund

The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts

The University of California Santa Cruz Art Research Institute

UCSC Arts Dean’s Research Fund & the Arts Dean’s Excellence Fund

UCSC Committee on Research Grant

The Zitrin Family Foundation

Web development PigIron thanks to Julian Fann

With thanks to our Fiscal Sponsor Bay Area Video Coalition


Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

All images: © Living Condition LLC 2015