Dying in Dixieland


In this life humans can either kill or be killed. The government can commit one of the acts. Meet Karl. He will soon be executed.

Dying in Dixieland

Dying in Dixieland

Each year around 50 people are executed in the US. The vast majority of executions take place in Texas by lethal injection. Since 1997 Karl Chamberlain has been on death row in Texas because he raped and murdered a 30-year-old woman in her apartment in Dallas in 1991.

Dying in Dixieland follows Karl’s mother Muina, an old hippie and now a practising Muslim, who hopes that her prayers will save her son’s life as she tries to understand what turned her once sweet little son into a violent criminal. She shares her concerns with a group of women, pen pals of Karl who in turn have developed boyfriend-like relationship with the condemned man on death row.

For Muina it is not just about Karl’s life but also her own. The pending execution is the culmination of a turbulent life with nine children, rape and suicide attempts. Last time she visited her son on death row, it was so hard on her that she tried to take her own life. Her friends now fear that if Karl is not pardoned, this execution might lead her to attempt suicide again. On Mother’s Day in 2008, she receives notification that an execution date has been set!

This film also introduces the victim’s lawyer and family in the attempt to understand a tragic situation where everybody will lose out, but where love also seems to overcome even the worst sex crime.

Director Martin Sundstrøm
Producer Martin Sundstrøm, Susanne Sundstrøm & Martin Martensen-Larsen
Produced by Mirabelle Film & the Danish Film Institute
Duration 30 min. & 52 min.
Year of Production 2010
Original Title Dying in Dixieland