Charlotte Unitarian Universalist minister Melissa Mummert is a soft-spoken woman who upon first meeting might strike one as shy or timid. But the work she has done on the documentary film Perversion of Justice speaks volumes.
In her first documentary, Rev. Mummert follows the story of Hamedah Hasan and her three daughters over four years as they battle their way through the justice system. Thirteen years ago, Hamedah was absurdly sentenced to over 100 years in prison when she refused to give up information on her cousin who was selling drugs. The film follows the struggle Hamedah faces as she goes through the appeal process and the hardships her daughters face every day without her.
Mummert's Reason For Making The Film: When I set out to make this film, I wanted to tell a story. I wanted people to see that in this War on Drugs, a lot of the people we have punished are innocent children. We have punished them by taking their parents away. I made this film to be a call to action, so that people can see what's going on here.
The Back Story: When I was interning as a chaplain at a women's prison in California, I got to know these women, and heard their stories. The more and more I heard about federal sentencing guidelines for drug conspiracy laws, the more I felt I had to do something.
Acting On Faith: In my faith, we believe that it's our duty to serve -- while we are on this earth, we take care of the people around us. And when we see something that's not right, we should act, no matter what side of the law they're on.
Hardest Part Of Making Documentary: The hardest part was watching this family go through all that they were going through and not being able to jump in and fix it. These people were so extraordinary. They didn't want sympathy, they just wanted justice. The hardest part for me was doing my best to tell the story right. I wanted the film to look as professional as it could. I spent hours in editing because I wanted to make sure that their voices were heard.