Not everyone behind bars is guilty.
A new documentary film by two new Bay Area-based filmmakers features the voice of Sean Penn and explores the failures of the legal system. The movie aired at 7 p.m. Pacific Sunday and then again at 9 p.m. on MSNBC.
"Witch Hunt," a film by Dana Nachman and Don Hardy, executive-produced and narrated by Penn delves deeply into the unraveling of a Bakersfield after the injustices of the justice system are exposed when several parents are wrongly convicted of child molestation in 1980s.
"Witch Hunt" interviews the parents and shows that that each of them was convicted by the same Kern County District Attorney who is still in office. Starting in 1984 at the height of child molestation hysteria, the local district attorney used the sensational crime in order to get himself elected.
The movie features the stories of John Stoll, Jeffrey Modahl, Brenda and Scott Kniffen, Marcella and Rick Pitts, Jack and Jackie Cummings and their children and families whose lives were ruined and turned upside down for decades.
The parents lost their children, who were pressured to testify against them, and served lengthy prison terms of up to 20 years in some of California's most dangerous prisons, such as San Quentin.
"Witch Hunt" is directed and produced by first time feature filmmakers Nachman and Hardy of the Bay and it is narrated by Penn.
The film premiered at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival in September. It will be shown this Sunday in Los Angeles.