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by Oliver Schmitz


South Africa, 1987. When Leon, a white 19-year-old prison guard commits an inexplicable act of violence, killing seven black men in a hail of bullets, the outcome of the trial - and the court’s sentence - seems a foregone conclusion. Hotshot lawyer John Weber reluctantly takes on the seemingly unwinnable case. A passionate opponent of the death penalty, John discovers that young Leon worked on death row in the nation’s most notorious prison, under traumatic conditions: befriending the inmates over the years while having to assist their eventual execution. As the court hearings progress, the case offers John the opportunity to put the entire system of legally sanctioned murder on trial. How can one man take such a dual role of friend and executioner, becoming both shepherd and butcher? Inspired by true events, this is the story that puts death penalty on trial and changes history.

international title: Shepherds and Butchers
original title: Shepherds and Butchers
country: South Africa, United States, Germany
sales agent: WestEnd Films
year: 2016
genre: fiction
directed by: Oliver Schmitz
film run: 80'
screenplay: Brian Cox
cast: Andrea Riseborough, Steve Coogan, Deon Lotz, Robert Hobbs, Brett Williams
cinematography by: Leah Striker
film editing: Megan Gill, Isabel Meier
art director: Michael Berg
costumes designer: Diana Cilliers
music: Paul Hepker
producer: Anant Singh, Brian Cox
production: WDR Westdeutscher Rundfunk, ARTE GEIE, Port-Au-Prince Pictures GmbH, Distant Horizon [US], Videovision Entertainment [ZA]

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