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CHAINS

LOGLINE:  FRAMED for murder by Mafia Cops in the most notorious case of NYPD police corruption, Barry Gibbs was finally freed after 19 wrongful years behind bars only to discover that his nightmare had just begun. This is the unbelievable true story of Barry’s LIFE AFTER exoneration, a man who left prison on a search for REDEMPTION. 

 
 
 
 
 
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The loss of freedom 

can never be 

undone... 

SYNOPSIS: Barry Gibbs will never get the images of prison out of his head. Even after winning the largest wrongful conviction settlement in New York City’s history, he is no lottery winner. After 19 unjust years behind bars, wrongful conviction took everything from him - his family, his health, his life savings, his sanity. The only thing he has left is his story.  “Chains” is the story of Barry’s journey after prison, the struggle to piece a shattered life back together when NYPD detectives, hired by the mafia, framed him for murder, and changed his life forever.  Beginning several years after his exoneration, this film captures the nuanced difficulty of daily life as an eccentric and neurotic Jewish man from Brooklyn tries to return to the world. An intimate and visceral perspective of life after wrongful conviction, this film illustrates the truth that settles in when the initial excitement of freedom fades. Shot over a 10-year period, this personal account is the first true look at the aftermath of wrongful imprisonment - not of the next day, week, or month, but the harsh reality of life after. 

 

Gritty and real, the film lives with Barry Gibbs through years of destitution and poverty as he fights the City and State of New York for redemption. When he finally wins the largest civil rights settlement in New York City’s history, he finds that not even millions of dollars can undo the damage prison leaves behind. We witness Barry's transformation from rags to riches—a man who once lived in a half-way house suddenly becomes a multi millionaire—but Barry's quest for closure is a much larger look at the desperate need for redemption after two decades of life behind bars. As Barry tries to regain all that has been taken from him—his livelihood, his mental stability, his physical health, his relationship with his only son, his ability to engage romantically—we witness a heartbreaking human narrative about friendship, family, and love. In the end of the film we see Barry far from the destitute place we first met him, but having overcome all he believed stood in the way of his truly being free, Barry is still haunted by the demons of his past. The film ends with the understanding that when it comes to wrongful imprisonment, the loss of freedom can never be undone. The fear of what could happen, and the memory of what did, are bound to Barry like prison chains forever. 

 

SCENES & TEASER

 

 
 
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BARRY & MYRNA

“Barry and Myrna” (2017) takes place as Barry and Myrna drive down to Florida. Barry will be interviewed by the board of a condo he’s trying to buy in the Jewish community his parents lived before they died while he was wrongfully incarcerated. Even though he was proven innocent and is now a millionaire, the board STILL required that he come for an in-person interview because of his prison history. This scene illustrates Barry's persisting fear of the police even 10 years after his exoneration as well as the volatile dynamic between him and Myrna - and exemplifies the humor that goes hand in hand with the heaviness of this film.

 
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The Cemetery

“The Cemetery” (2009) Barry arrives in New Mexico, having driven all the way from New York, to visit the gravesite of his parents, whom he hadn't seen since 1995. His parents devotedly visited him during the 19 years he was wrongfully incarcerated, but eventually became too old to make the trip, and both died within a year of his release before he was able to see them. After desperately searching through rows of headstones, Barry finally gets his chance to say goodbye to them, but not before making them a solemn vow to come back for them. 

 

PRESS

 HUFFPOST 10/05/2017

HUFFPOST 10/05/2017

An Exonerated Prisoner Shares What Freedom Is Like After 19 Years Behind Bars

Freedom for Barry Gibbs hasn’t been easy, thankfully he has a friend in Vanessa Potkin. By Erica Euse

 Daily News 06/05/2005

Daily News 06/05/2005

Barry Gibbs, wrongly jailed for 19 years, will never forget crooked cop who put him in prison

Barry Gibbs, with his girlfriend Myrna Lichter, says he battles depression after being wrongly jailed for 19 years. By John Marzulli 

 New York Times 06/03/2010

New York Times 06/03/2010

City to Pay $9.9 Million Over Man’s Imprisonment

“They are permanent scars,” said Barry Gibbs, who says he was falsely convicted of killing a prostitute. He received $1.9 million from the state. By A. G. SULZBERGER

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