October 7, 2011
Studio: Truly Indie, Yokel
Directors: Joe Bailey Jr., Steve Mims
MPAA Rating: N/A
Copyright Holder: N/A
Official website: Incendiarymovie.com
Equal parts murder mystery, forensic investigation and political drama, Steve Mim and Joe Bailey, Jr's "Incendiary: The Willingham Case" documents the Cameron Todd Willingham case and surrounding legal and political battles in intimate detail. Willingham was convicted and executed for the arson murders of his daughters who perished in a 1991 Corsicana, Texas house fire. Mims and Bailey initially set out to pick up where David Grann's New Yorker piece on the case had left off, focusing on the evidence of a crime and the dynamics of fire, but an unexpected political dynamic was injected into the story when Governor Rick Perry shuffled the membership of a state commission investigating the case. The film pits science against speculation, steeping audiences in the practice of arson investigation, dissecting evidence, then immersing them in a struggle over the reputation of a dead man. With no surviving witnesses to the alleged crime, audiences are treated to explorations of the case background by trial attorney David Martin, Willingham advocate Elizabeth Gilbert, appeals lawyer Walter Reaves, arson expert John Lentini, family members and others, all of whom offer their own revealing insights into Willingham's fate.