Swiss film “Free Men” on the issue of death penalty to be screened in Amman

Press releases, 23.02.2020

The documentary film “Free Men” (2018) by Swiss director Anne-Frédérique Widmann illustrates the story of inmate Kenneth Reams in Arkansas (US), sentenced to death at the age of 18 and in solitary confinement for the last 25 years. Presented by the Embassy of Switzerland in Jordan in collaboration with the Royal Film Commission on 26 February 2020 at 19.00 hrs at the Rainbow Theater in Amman, the screening will be followed by a panel discussion on the issue of capital punishment in presence of the film director as well as a reception. Free entrance.

Told through the charismatic voice of inmate Kenneth Reams, “Free Men” is a film about human resilience. At age 18, Kenneth Reams was convicted for capital murder for a shooting he did not commit. He became the youngest inmate on Arkansas death row. 

Kenneth Reams has served decades of imprisonment in complete isolation. Love and art have freed him from his chains and he found a purpose in life when all signs of hope seemed lost. He has pushed back the walls of his cell to become a painter, a poet, the founder of a non-profit, and an art event organizer – while fighting at the same time for justice. 

Alongside art, “Free Men” shows how love can cross barbed wire and the length of an ocean in Kenneth’s love for Isabelle, a French artist he wants to marry. 

Directed by the Swiss filmmaker Anne-Frederique Widmann “Free Men” was presented in many film festivals around the globe. It won the Special Award for documentary at the Alger International Film Festival (FICA) in 2018 as well as a jury award at the 16th edition of the prestigious International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH) in 2018 in Geneva. 

The event will be opened by H.E. Mr Lukas Gasser, Ambassador of Switzerland in Jordan. Following the screening, a panel composed of film director Mrs Anne-Frederique Widmann, MP H.E. Mr Kais Zayyadin and Attorney at Law Mr Iyad Al-Qaisi will exchange views on the film and the issue of death penalty. The discussion, which Kenneth Reams is planning to join virtually, will be moderated the Mrs Taghreed Jaber, Regional Director at Penal Reform International. After the panel discussion, refreshments will be offered by the Embassy of Switzerland in Jordan. 

This event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH), the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAE) and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).