Illustrating Injustice

Dee Hibbert-Jones’s ‘Run With It’ on racism in U.S. criminal justice system

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Stills courtesy of Dee Hibbert-Jones

Film. Illustration. Journalism. UC Santa Cruz art professor Dee Hibbert-Jones received the $75,000 Enterprise Documentary Fund from the International Documentary Association (IDA) to fund her latest animated documentary, “Run With It,” on Oct.  11. 

Hibbert-Jones and co-director and producer Nomi Talisman will use the renowned grant to bring attention to issues of race within the U.S.’s criminal justice system by highlighting the story of Troy Davis, a Black man who was accused of killing a white police officer in Savannah, Georgia in  1989. 

In the film, Davis’ story comes to life 30 years later through the eyes of his nephew, De’Jaun Correia. Having worked for over 10 years with the families of death row prisoners, Hibbert-Jones brings these cases to life through documentaries.

“[I am] grateful to the IDA as this grant will help us reenact aspects of the story from the 20 years of legal facts in Troy’s case that we cannot otherwise bring to screen,” Hibbert-Jones said in an email.

The IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund is devoted to supporting documentaries that show their viewers meaningful and pressing narratives, while also presenting grounded journalism work and unique visual aspects. With this extra boost, documentarians are provided with a larger budget to expand their creative  endeavors.

Twelve films this year received the award, totaling $850,000 in funds. In addition to the funding, grant recipients gained access to resources from reputable documentary programs, such as the Reporters’ Committee for Freedom of the Press, the UCLA Documentary Film Legal Clinic and Freelance Investigative Reporters and  Editors.

Stills courtesy of Dee Hibbert-Jones

With motion picture technology, drawings create this fully animated film — setting “Run With It” apart from your typical documentary.  

“Animation provides a distance from extreme violence and trauma and it also allows an intimacy with the storyteller, allowing us to focus on [the] narrative,” Hibbert-Jones said in an email. “Animation also allows a unique use of metaphor — a symbolic language that combines facts and emotional  states.”

Producing a feature film is a time consuming and expensive process, but Hibbert-Jones is optimistic and anticipates the film’s completion sometime next year with the help from UCSC art and film  students. 

Hibbert-Jones and co-director and producer Nomi Talisman have high hopes for the film’s future, both on a local and national level. They’d like to collaborate with nonprofits as a way to further the film’s impact.

“We have a long way to go,” Hibbert-Jones said in an email. “Ultimately, we hope to release the film theatrically, on TV, and possibly in other formats.”

A short preview of “Run With It” is available to watch on the Nomi Talisman & Dee Hibbert-Jones official Vimeo page. It’s expected to be released in 2020.