Love Lived on Death Row tells the story of the four Syriani siblings whose father was sentenced to die for the murder of their mother in 1990 and Meg Eggleston, who became their father's friend and spiritual advisor through letters to him in prison. Orphaned and estranged, the Syriani children lived with hate, anger and confusion as the man they could only refer to as 'Him Him' lived on North Carolina's death row. But in 2004 they collectively decided to visit him in prison, seeking answers so they could move on with their adult lives. What transpired that day was a miracle of forgiveness followed by a journey of healing, restoring family memories and then a battle for his clemency. Love Lived on Death Row's portrait of a family torn apart by tragedy and reunited by another impending tragedy is a powerful examination of not only the healing process, but also of the role capital punishment plays in serving justice.
I became interested in the Syriani siblings unique and moving story in July 2005 after reading about their first public appearance in Charlotte, North Carolina. The story of four siblings confronting a father on death row for the murder of their mother was intriguing. But what truly compelled me further was their incredible experience of forgiveness, reconciliation and healing after fourteen years of estrangement from him. As I got deeper into their story, I discovered many layers beyond the restorative justice and capital punishment issues that include the complexities of the human spirit, surviving domestic violence trauma, family bonds, faith, transformation and hope. Although the Syriani siblings have endured some very difficult pain in their lives, their bond, their beliefs and their hearts are amazing. Their story will move some to tears, but in the end I want people to feel inspired by the courage and attitudes they have, the love that was shared between all the people in the story and to feel motivated to think more about the difficult social issues addressed in the film.
A By the Brook Films Production © 2007 www.bythebrookfilms.com
Produced & Directed by Linda Booker
Edited by Linda Booker
Cinematography Randolph Benson, Linda Booker
Original Music by Hans Stiritz
Featuring Rose, Sarah, Janet & John Syriani, Meg Eggleston, Henderson Hill, Russell Sizemore, Deborah Weissman, Sister Helen Prejean, Mazen Barbari, Teresa Barbari
Additional Camera Mark Barroso, Scott Langley
Sound Post/Additional Editing Hans Stiritz
Title Sequence Design Durward Rogers
Trailer Edited by Hans Stiritz
Photos Courtesy of The Syriani family, Meg Eggleston, Scott Langley
Archival Material ABC News/Good Morning America, Charlotte Coalition for a Moratorium Now, The Charlotte Observer, CNN-The Larry King Show, The News & Observer, WTVD ABC-11 Eyewitness News, WRAL-TV Capitol Broadcasting Company
Linda Booker: Director, Producer, Editor, Cinematographer
LOVE LIVED ON DEATH ROW is Linda Booker's first feature length documentary film. She completed Duke University's Certificate in Documentary Studies Program in 2005. Her first project MILLWORKER THE DOCUMENTARY that she produced and edited appeared at The Sometime in October Film Festival in Wilmington, NC and Indie Memphis in 2005 and was later distributed to preservation organizations and schools in North Carolina. Linda Booker's professional experience includes 15 years as an art director and graphic designer after graduating from Florida State University. In 2005 Linda formed By the Brook Productions www.bythebrookfilms.com based in Central North Carolina to produce documentaries and outreach videos for non-profits.
Hans Stiritz: Original Music, Sound Post, Editing, Trailer
Stiritz has composed scores for several independent feature film productions, including CHASING THE WIND (directed by Charles B. Pierce), STAY TUNED FOR MURDER and TOO SCARED TO LAUGH. He also scored a short film, SERENDIPITY LANE (starring Wes Bentley of 2000 Oscar winner "American Beauty"), which was a finalist in the 1995 Academy Awards' Student Film Competition. Video and film productions with his scores have won dozens of Addy and film festival awards in the Mid-south region and around the country. Corporate scoring clients include UNITED AIRLINES, ENTERGY, ALLTEL, MEMOREX/TELEX, TYSON and ALCOA. Stiritz recently formed Evening Films www.eveningfilms.com for producing, editing and directing film/video projects.
Randolph Benson: Cinematographer
Randolph Benson's film MAN AND DOG has appeared in eighteen film festivals in seven countries and has garnered numerous awards, most notably a Gold Medal in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Student Academy Awards. His work has been featured on the Bravo Network, the Independent Film Channel (Split Screen), WTTW-Chicago, UNC-TV (NC Visions), and Telewizja Polska S.A.- Poland, and received an Eastman Kodak Excellence in Filmmaking Award at the Cannes Film Festival. Benson is an instructor at Duke's Center for Documentary Studies and a graduate of Wake Forest University and of the North Carolina School of the Arts School of Filmmaking. Production is wrapping on Benson's most recent documentary, The Searchers, a film profiling the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It will premiere in Dallas, TX in the fall of 2007.