INVESTIGATION DISCOVERY EXAMINES FORGIVENESS IN AMERICA'S JUSTICE SYSTEM IN WORLD TELEVISION PREMIERE DOCUMENTARY "ID FILMS: UNLIKELY FRIENDS"
- Narrated by M*A*S*H Actor and Human Rights Activist Mike Farrell, Controversial Documentary is Part of Investigation
Discovery's Ongoing ID FILMS Strand --
(Silver Spring, MD) - Could you forgive your own son's killer? It's an unimaginable question to ask, but one that countless families are unfortunately faced withevery day. In a special world television premiere of the critically acclaimed documentary UNLIKELY FRIENDS, by filmmaker Leslie Neale, Investigation Discovery takes an unflinching look at the intricacies of forgiveness under the most extreme and brutal circumstances. Narrated by actor, activist, and life-long opponent of the death penalty, Mike Farrell (M*A*S*H), the one-hour special explores surprising relationships that have blossomed out of violent situations. Through emotional interviews with victims, surviving family members, and the criminals that devastated their lives, UNLIKELY FRIENDS reveals how the power of forgiveness between victim and perpetrator can affect change within the criminal justice system. UNLIKELY FRIENDS premieres Monday, October 21 at 10/9c on InvestigationDiscovery as part of the ID FILMS documentary strand.
"Given that the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world with one out of 32 Americans under judicialsupervision, UNLIKELY FRIENDS couldn't be more relevant," said Henry Schleiff, Group President, Investigation Discovery, Military Channel and Destination America. "This thought-provoking, indeed, controversial documentary offers insight into alternative reform and rehabilitation programs within America's justice system through a series of emotional interviews with bothvictims and their perpetrators.."
"Most of us will never face the tragic task of forgiving a loved one's killer. UNLIKELY FRIENDS exposes this lesser known, but growing receptivity among Americans to show mercy in order to heal," said Neale. "I'm glad to be able to give viewers a chance to see that forgiveness is possible."
While the majority of victims' groups in the U.S. lobby for stricter sentencing, there is a growing faction of people that encourage forgiveness. Through their need to heal, these victims have come face-to-face with their assailants, forcing them to take personal responsibility for the crime. Now, these victims are courageously standing up and even facing societal judgment and ridicule to share their restorative journeys.
ID FILMS: UNLIKELY FRIENDS recounts chilling and heinous acts of violence, which are re-told directly from the criminals' points of view, and the unbelievable and amazing acts of forgiveness by the victims and family members. The stories of unlikely friends covered in the film include:
Wyoming State Legislator Steve Watt was a state trooper when he was shot several times and blinded in one eye by a bankrobber. He has since become friends with his assailant, Mark Farnham, and advocates for the convict's early parole.
Debbie Parnham's only son was killed during a drive-by shooting in Phoenix, Ariz., when he was only 16 years old. She didn't intend to befriend her son's killer but, after meeting Gabriel Nieto, their connection led to such a deep bond that she now considers him her "other" son.
Jane Waterholter often visits her son's murderer at a Florida state penitentiary. She attributes her ability to forgive J.D. Klaus to his taking full responsibility for the murder even though the court advised him against doing so.
A college roommate killed Radha Stern's only son over dirty dishes. Now, she volunteers with inmates at San Quentin State Prison as a "surrogate victim" for those offenders who are ready to make amends yet are prevented from contacting their victims by law.
Azim Khamisa's only son - a 20-year-old student - was shot and killed while delivering pizzas in San Diego, Cal. His killer, Tony Hicks, became the first 14 year old to stand trial as an adult in the state. Now, alongside Hicks' grandfather, Khamisa runs a non-profit organization committed to "stopping children from killing children."
ID FILMS: UNLIKELY FRIENDS premieres Monday, October 21 at 10/9c. The documentary is part of the ID FILMS strand, the television home for projects that shine a light on important, overlooked aspects of our justice system and showcase compelling stories ofmystery, intrigue, and determination.
ID FILMS: UNLIKELY FRIENDS is produced by Chance Films with Leslie Neale as director and executive producer. For Investigation Discovery, Ron Simon is executive producer, Sara Kozak is senior vice president of production, Kevin Bennett is general manager, and Henry Schleiff is group president of Investigation Discovery, Military Channel, and Destination America.
About Investigation Discovery
Investigation Discovery (ID) is the leading mystery-and-suspense network on television and America's favorite "guilty pleasure." From harrowing crimes and salacious scandals to the in-depth investigations and heart-breaking mysteries that result, ID challenges our everyday understanding of culture, society and the human condition. ID delivers the highest-quality programming to more than 85 million U.S. households with viewer favorites that include On the Case with Paula Zahn; Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda; Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?; Disappeared; Stalked: Someone's Watching; and Redrum. For more information, please visit InvestigationDiscovery.com, facebook.com/InvestigationDiscovery, or twitter.com/DiscoveryID. Investigation Discovery is part of Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the world's #1 nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.8 billion cumulative subscribers in 218 countries and territories.