Justin Brooks, Director and Co-founder of the San Diego-based California Innocence Project (CIP), a program of California Western, joined Brian Banks on the red carpet at a screening Saturday night of the “Brian Banks” movie at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park. Also at the event were actor Greg Kinnear, who plays Brooks, screenplay writer Doug Atchison, and director Tom Shadyac.
The movie, which stars Aldis Hodge as Banks, closely follows Banks’ road to redemption, including the many legal obstacles he encountered when attempting to clear his name after he was wrongfully convicted of rape in 2002.
"Brian Banks faced an impossible choice: plead and maybe go home, or fight his case and likely die in prison,” says Brooks. “When innocent people plead, there is a problem in our justice system.”
Following exhaustive work from Brooks and his team at CIP, evidence in the case was reviewed, and a Los Angeles County judge reversed the conviction in May 2012.
In 2013, Brooks and Banks started talking to Hollywood about the story and in 2017 filming began on the movie, which also stars actors Sherri Shepherd, Morgan Freeman, and Melanie Liburd.
“I’m thankful that I have a movie about my story, that people get to learn my story,” Banks told the San Diego Union-Tribune on the red carpet. “But way beyond that, the fact that we are going to tell the stories of others, that this movie will represent others—that’s where my heart is smiling.”
Brooks is proud of the quality of the movie and the message it conveys. “It is a wake-up call that in a country where 95 percent of cases plead we need to look more closely at those cases to achieve justice," he says.
“Brian Banks” opens in theaters nationwide August 9.
About The California Innocence Project: The California Innocence Project is a law school clinic, founded in 1999 at California Western School of Law, dedicated to freeing the innocent, training law students, and changing laws and policies in the state of California. https://californiainnocenceproject.org