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When Miami filmmaker Carl Kesser lay bleeding last November after being shot with a beanbag pellet by police, the furthest thing from his thoughts was a new business opportunity. Kesser, who was filming the demonstrations against the Free Trade Area of the Americas conference when he was shot, suffered nerve damage on the right side of his forehead and nearly lost his right eye. He was shot twice more in the back as he fled the scene. A photograph of the stunned Kesser, with the embedded pellet distorting his head and blood spurting, was widely published. Kesser, 58, who had been a supporter of the proposed FTAA agreement, now sees a psychologist to sort through the trauma of that incident. But during his 39-year filmmaking career, Kesser has prided himself on thinking outside of the box. Several years ago, he started compiling stock footage that other filmmakers discarded. His collection, the Kesser Image Library, has grown to be the 10th largest stock footage collection in the country. Not long ago, the producers of the TV show “Friends” purchased a clip from Kesser showing a full moon framed between palm trees. His latest business idea is to create feature film-quality videos for lawyers to use in litigation. That concept was inspired by his experience in suing the police for shooting him. For his case, Kesser has retained Robert D. Brown of Freidin & Brown, Gary S. Brooks and Bruce G. Hermelee of Brooks Hermelee, and Lida Rodriguez-Taseff of Duane Morris in Miami. As part of his case, he discovered that lawyers often use young, inexperienced filmmakers to produce videos for use during trials. He thinks there is a legal market for high-end films. “I did a 10-minute presentation of my own case,” Kesser said. “People who have seen it have flipped over it.” Already he has done — or is slated to do — film work for the Philadelphia office of law firm Duane Morris, plaintiffs attorney William Huggett and the Miami firm Brooks Hermelee Geffin. “The whole gist is to bring filmmaking to the legal arena,” Kesser said. “Lawyers are actors. A good trial attorney writes a script, presents it in a way that is well-timed and conveys a message in a direct, simple way. Everything you would do in making a film, you would be doing in planning a case.” Kesser, who has won 20 Emmy Awards, thinks he has found a new market niche for his work. But he wishes he’d never been through the situation that led to this potentially lucrative business. “It was the worst experience of my life,” Kesser said. “I am involved in dangerous situations — flying helicopters, swimming with sharks, traveling in Third World countries with bodyguards — but I never thought that in the streets of Miami, where I was born and raised, anything like this would happen.”

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