So why fund a film about a celebrity impersonator framed by a karate instructor for trying to poison the President?
Because it is a true story!
My name is Melanie Addington and I am the director of the documentary I Didn't Do It. We have been working for almost a year to capture the life of Paul Kevin Curtis, Everett Dutschke and the way the Federal authorities handled this case.
This important documentary is one part character study and one part an examination of the government. It doesn't matter if you like, love, hate either Dutschke or Curtis, because how the government handled this case, is wrong and a fair warning to any of us that are rights are not what they once were.
On April 17, 2013, 48 hours after the Boston Marathon bombing, and 24 hours after ricin letters addressed to the president were discovered, an overwhelming force of Federal, State and Local Authorities (FBI, Capitol Police, Secret Service, U.S. Postal Police, Mississippi's sheriff deputies, Corinth police officers and National Guard troops) descended upon Kevin Curtis. With automatic weapons drawn, they handcuffed him. Kevin was taken from his home in Corinth, Mississippi to the Federal Detention Center in Oxford, Mississippi. After hours of grueling interrogations, Kevin was placed in a cell at the Lafayette County Jail. It was only after Kevin overheard a comment from another inmate that Kevin realized he was accused of sending ricin laced letters to the President of the United States, Senator Roger Wicker and a local judge. The media jumped on the story, characterizing Kevin as a crazy Elvis impersonator and immediately assuming that he did it. In fact, when I first heard the story, even I thought Kevin probably did it.
The problem was, he didn't do it.
Kevin had been framed by long-time arch-enemy, Everett Dutschke. Federal authorities released Curtis from jail six days after detaining him, several days after the authorities knew they had no evidence against him. To prolong his incarceration, the federal government used some legal maneuvers that very few have paid attention to. But for Kevin, the damage was already too great. Kevin had suffered mightily as a result. This was a feud of federal proportions.
Watch more from Action News 5 in an interview with Melanie Addington on why the film needs to be told!
OK. But why should I care?
We have an important story to tell and it is one that doesn't just affect Mississippi. This story affects us all. What was done to Kevin Curtis was a casual removal of his rights by the Federal Government. But Kevin’s avenues for redress are few. Kevin's own social media was used against him and he was framed for a serious terrorist attempt by Dutschke. And the tricks to keep him arrested once they knew he was innocent was dangerous. It seems almost implausible but it is not.
To this day, Kevin has not received full exoneration or an apology from the U.S. Government.
I Didn't Do It is a passion project for the filmmakers. Daniel Lee Perea is working as the director of photography on the project. Laura Warner is serving as assistant director. Hudson Hickman and W. Steve Bozeman, Jr. are producers on the project. We have also worked with numerous crew members from Mississippi to help with sound and technical needs on set.
Many of us involved have won accolades and awards for other projects along the way. Heck, Hudson even helped produce the television show MacGyver, so you know we are quite the handy crew to support. You can learn more about us here: ididntdoitmovie.com.
Kevin's story has been meaningful and life changing for us, the filmmakers. And it is a story we want to share with the world. We can only do it with your help.
What We Need & What You Get
We need money to finish this important documentary. We have footage and are working on a rough cut. We have people committed to helping make the film a reality. We have a dedicated crew that has worked with us since our beginning in April 2013. We have been awarded a Mississippi Filmmaker Grant and we have qualified for the Mississippi Film Incentive which provides a percentage back if you spend over $50,000, but we need money to finish this important story.
- We have not yet paid all of our crew as they have deferred payment until funds are available and would like to do this soon.
- An editor will be hired to complete the film.
- We will hire a composer.
- A LARGE portion will go towards licensing the required payment needed to use media clips. One six-second clip will cost us approximately $4,000. The more money we raise, the more clips we can use to tell our story.
- The remainder of the money will be used to obtain rights to certain songs that Curtis performs, yes, maybe even an Elvis song or two.
Now everyone who gives $75 or more to the campaign receives a thank you in the movie credits AND an invite to the work-in-progress screening of the film in Oxford.
Along with the incentives for each level (you can see what you get on the right), we will be raffling off bonus prizes at each level of the campaign. Winners will be announced at the end of the campaign.
A huge thank you to Nautilus Publishing who has offered to donate a free pass (value of $250) to the next Write & Publish Your Book Workshop by Nautilus Publishing (time & location TBD) to EVERYONE that gives at the $500, $1,000 or $5,000 level. Please support Nautilus Publishing!
An I Didn't Do It T-shirt designed by artist Courtney McPhail will be given to one lucky person who donates at the $5 level.
Anyone who donates that amount is entered into the raffle to win.
Yoknapatawpha Arts Council has donated a signed Playbill program from the Broadway Show "That Championship Season" starring Kiefer Sutherland to to be given to one lucky person who donates at the $25 level.
A second prize will go to a lucky winner of this cool hat donated by Charter Road Hospitality.
Ajax Diner will provide dinner for two to one lucky person who donates at the $50 level. Anyone who donates that amount is entered into the raffle to win.
A second winner will win a Gin t-shirt (green is Medium and red is large).
$75 Level A winner of the raffle will receive a Gin t-shirt (green is medium and red is large)
Oxford Acting Studio has donated 4 weeks of children's acting classes to be held at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center to one lucky person who donates at the $100 level. Anyone who donates that amount is entered into the raffle to win.
A second person will win an 8x10 poster and I Didn't Do It t-shirt.
OxFilm Society has donated a free membership and rental of the film equipment for one year for FREE to one lucky person who gives at the $250 level. Anyone who donates that amount is entered into the raffle to win.
A second winner will receive 4 tickets to a show of their choice at the Lyric Theatre in Oxford, Mississippi.
A Danny K Photography portrait sitting will be provided for one lucky person who gives at the $500 level. Anyone who donates that amount is entered into the raffle to win.
$1,000 LevelYou will be named Executive Producer, receive all lower level perks and obtain this rare Playbill and Gold coin (no longer in production at US Mint and worth over $1,800).
Yoknapatawpha Arts Council has donated the use of the Powerhouse Community Arts Center for a one-day rental to one lucky person who gives at the $1,000 level. Anyone who donates that amount is entered into the raffle to win.
A second winner will win a one-day rental the Lyric Theatre in Oxford, Miss. Anyone who donates at the $1,000 amount is entered into the raffle to win.
$5,000 LevelA beautiful Jere Allen original painting valued at $1,900 will be given to the one person who donates at this level. This person will also be an Executive Director of the film and receive all lower level credits.
Other Ways You Can Help
I realize not everyone can give financially, but you can still be involved with this project.
- Be sure to share this project with friends.
- Let us know of any way you can contribute towards the film.
- Like us on Facebook and Twitter
Thank you for your time, thoughts and support,
Melanie Addington, Director
I Didn't Do It