402 is a documentary film on the death penalty that focuses on the execution of John Joe “Ash” Amador, who was executed in Huntsville on August 29, 2007. In August 2007 , a group of London artists went on a journey to Huntsville, Texas, to bear witness and capture on film, the events surrounding his execution and the making of his death mask. One thread of the film is the process of his wife picking up his body after the execution and arranging for the filmmakers to make a death mask of his face. You can watch the film online here (This is the 2008 edit. 402 will be re-launched in 2009 with a fresh edit.)
The film includes interviews with many people, including the former warden of The Walls Unit, Jim Willet and Billy Moore who was on death row in Georgia for 16 1/2 years after being sentenced to death in 1974. There are scenes of protesters outside the Walls Unit on the day of the execution. It deals a lot with the difficulties of the family dealing with the death penalty system.
Pictured above from top left – Nick Reynolds, Connie Wright, Lucinda Wild, Matt, Carrie Richards, Lisa Prieto, Paul Blackwood, Linda Amador.
We are contacting the filmmakers to see if they have any plans to show the film in Texas.
At one point in the film, they talk about the then-pending execution of Kenneth Foster, scheduled for the day after Amador’s execution and how Kenneth had no part in the murder, he was only driving the car. Watch for a photo of Kenneth Foster, sr, who has been working with us lobbying the Texas Legislature on ending the death penalty under the Law of Parties.
The trailer is below.
John Amador was one of the artists in Texas Moratorium Network’s 2006 art show “Justice for All?: Artists Reflect on the Death Penalty with a painting he produced for the artshow.
From Punkvert film’s website:
Punkvert’s latest film creation is “402” – an AV documentary about the death of John Joe Amador – “Ash” to his friends.
Ash was executed by the State of Texas on 29th August 2007. The Baroness von Reichardt accompanied Ash’s wife Linda in the Huntsville Death Chamber. After the execution artist Nick Reynolds made a death mask of Ash, with full permission and blessing of Ash and all his friends and family.
Paul Blackwood and other members of the group captured this both most sorrowful and amazing event on camera. The tale unfolds in the film and is one of the strangest creations yet screened in British underground cinemas.
402 the film came out Autumn 2008 and premiered to a packed house at the Portobello Film Festival on the 10th September at Inn On the Green. with no seats left in the house, supporters came to sit on the floor and stand throughout the 77 minute film.
The AV nature of the film and the original score composed by Paul Blackwood is complimented with music from Dizzi Dulcimer, Sandy Dillon, The Doomed Bird of Providence, Nick Reynolds, Alabama 3, Tom Antona, Anarchistwood and nomeansno.
Interviewees in the film include Tony Benn, Paul Blackwood, Gerry Conlon, Paddy Hill, Arthur Mallinson, Billy Moore, Lisa Prieto, Nick Reynolds, Carrie Richards, Clive Stafford Smith, Lucinda Wild, Jim Willett, Connie Wright.