He spent a quarter-century in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Now, Michael Morton is sharing his experience in a documentary. An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton story premiered in Austin Monday night.
To view the trailer click here: http://www.anunrealdream.com/
The documentary, An Unreal Dream starts much like the trailer with Michael Morton seated in the courtroom where he was wrongfully convicted of his wife Christine's murder in 1987. She was killed in front of their son.
"When they came back with the guilty verdict, I was stunned. It literally knocked the wind out of me. My knees buckled," said Morton in the film.
Director Al Reinert scouted courthouses all over Texas to tell Morton's story. He chose the location in Georgetown, not knowing it was the exact courtroom which makes the setting all the more powerful.
"When the day came and we actually started filming and he walked into that courtroom, it brought a lot of bad memories back," Reinert said.
At the premiere at SXSW on Monday, Morton spoke about those feelings.
"It was still much more of an emotional, painful sort of experience. It was real tough," Morton said. "I didn't think it was haunted or anything but it got to me more than I expected it to."
Reinert tells the story of Christine's life, through family photos--the Mortons' wedding day, their son Eric and the bloody crime scene when their world was forever changed.
Then comes the dark 25 years Morton spent in prison. The audience will hear from those who were incarcerated with him.
Morton's son Eric also participated in the film.
The most heart-wrenching moment may be when Morton addresses his son, who cut ties with him as a teenager.
"All of that didn't do me in but when I lost him, that's what broke me," Morton said.
"Eric's in a very difficult position and he's still coming to terms with it," said Reinert.
Reinert won't say how the film ends, but he does say Morton's new bride Cynthia, whom he married in East Texas over the weekend, is a part of it.
Morton's real life story isn't over. Next week he heads to San Angelo, to testify in the trial of Mark Alan Norwood. Norwood's DNA was found at Christine's murder scene. It's that link that set an innocent man free.
"I have prayed that he would cop a plea not to drag people through this again especially my son, but I know that sometimes you have to go through difficult stuff. I just don't know how I'm going to be once I'm in a room with him," Morton said.
Reinert plans to take the film to New York and Los Angeles so that it can qualify for an academy award. Morton will be in town for two more screenings--one on Wednesday at the Alamo Village, and another at the Topfer Theatre at Zach Scott on Saturday.
Where to watch: http://www.anunrealdream.com/see-the-film/
After the hearing wraps in San Angelo, Morton will get that much deserved honeymoon.