NEW YORK — Chris Gilbert, president of Paper Denim & Cloth, hosted a screening Tuesday night at the Bryant Park Hotel for “After Innocence,” a film that chronicles seven prisoners who were exonerated after DNA testing proved their innocence.
Gilbert, who saw the film just two months ago, has already contributed $15,000 on behalf of Paper Denim & Cloth to the Life After Exoneration Program, which provides social services, mentoring and networking for those who have proven their innocence, and works to amend state and federal policies that cover assistance to these individuals. Gilbert said he’ll continue to contribute to LAEP long after the film’s release.
“The most astonishing thing to me was what happens when these guys get out of prison,” Gilbert said. “Those who are guilty of their crimes and serve their time get a lot more help [than those exonerated]. I just want to bring awareness to the cause.”
Gilbert went one step further and flew in three of the men featured in the film and outfitted them in Paper Denim & Cloth clothing for the premiere, which attracted Carson Kressley; Karen O, lead singer of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, and Padma Lakshmi.
One of the exonerated in attendance, Vincent Moto, created the soundtrack for the film. In 1987, Moto was convicted of robbery and rape in Philadelphia and, after the use of DNA testing, was exonerated after more than 10 years in prison. One of Moto’s biggest challenges these days is getting his criminal record expunged. “If you’re innocent, you should have your record expunged and it should be mandatory, but it isn’t,” he said.
“After Innocence,” winner of the special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival, opens here this weekend.