Innocence Project: PSA from Hayden5 for justice reform

Innocence Project
(First PSA from Innocence Project)

This new creative effort from production company Hayden5 who recently produced a PSA for The Innocence Project, is something that will make you happy and mad as hell simultaneously. Happy to see justice finally done. Angry to see the injustice that has befallen Black Men caught in a system that is automatically against them.

The nonprofit legal organization has a mission to free the innocent and prevent wrongful convictions through criminal justice reform. Titled “Happiest Moments,” the spot just launched via online and social channels and marks the organization’s first-ever PSA. 

“We are thrilled to have collaborated with Hayden5 and Ariel Ellis on the Innocence Project’s first promotional video,” said Alicia Maule, Digital Engagement Director at the Innocence Project. “This anthem embodies the core pillars of our work – to free the innocent and ensure that no one else misses the happiest moments of their lives from wrongful conviction. Huwe Burton, Rosa Jimenez, and Termaine Hicks represent the perseverance and resilience in all of our clients and we are honored to be able to share their stories.”

Directed by Ariel Ellis, the PSA focuses on the experiences of three Innocence Project clients: Rosa Jimenez, freed in 2021 after 17 years in prison; Termaine Hicks, exonerated in 2020 after 16 years in prison; and Huwe Burton, exonerated in 2019 after 20 years in prison.

Narrated by actress Dascha Polanco (In the Heights), the film features photos and footage of Innocence Project clients and their families, presenting a glimpse into the intergenerational and familial impact of wrongful incarceration and the joy that comes from regaining one’s freedom. The underscoring track, Innocence by Louis Weeks is performed by Anesha Birchett. Watch below:

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You can view images here.

“The mission of the Innocence Project cannot be overstated, so we jumped at the chance to collaborate with them,” says Sara Beamish, Hayden5 Producer. “We’re drawn to these types of organizations because the people they represent remind us of our humanity. We hope this video gives freedom back to the wrongfully incarcerated and helps inspire people to get involved.” 

Hayden5 handled creative development, production, and post production using a variety of mixed media in underscoring each “Happiest Moments”story.

With vendors and talent across the country, as well as stakeholder teams in NYC, Detroit, and Chicago, Hayden5 relied on its proprietary remote workflows to keep the project on track and stakeholders informed and involved.

“As a company, Hayden5 always strives to pair the right people with the project,” concludes Beamish. “Collaboration was key as we determined the creative before diving into the edit, working closely with the Innocence Project client voices. The end result is a testament to everyone’s passion and commitment to pulling together on such a powerful piece.”

Other social justice projects that Hayden5 has been involved in include the Netflix documentary, Long Shot, about a wrongfully accused man, and Revolving Doors, a short film about recidivism, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.





  • Featuring: Rosa Jimenez, Termaine Hicks, and Huwe Burton
  • Director: Ariel Ellis
  • Producers: Dion Matthews, Sara Beamish
  • Post Producer: Tiffany Brathwaite
  • Director of Post Production: Melissa Balan
  • Narration: Dascha Polanco
  • Composer: Louis Weeks
  • Musical Vocals: Anesha Birchett