© 2019 | (In)Justice for All Film Festival 

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2016 FESTIVAL FILMS

2019 OFFICIAL SELECTIONS

The fact that in a nation that prides itself on a history of freedom, that extolls the principle of justice, has the largest population of prisoners of any country is reason enough to pause and consider: How did this happen? Why was this allowed to happen? What is the impact? Is this necessary? At what cost of human capital and resources? Is this the best way to spend our country’s treasures? What can we do about it? 

 

The films screened during the ten days of this festival will inspire, and horrify uplift, and anger . . . as a nation, we have allowed our criminal justice system, our laws, our police enforcement and our system of punishment to become the dominant form of “correction.” These films will help answer the questions we posed above, and critically, show us a better way.

 

Congratulations to the producers, directors, actors, illustrators, and the rest of the teams that created the 30-plus films that were accepted to be part of the (In)Justice for All Film Festival! 

Already Home  
Director: Victor Ramos

David and Fernanda, one a former DACA recipient and one a current DACA recipient, could both face deportation as politicians use their legal status as a bargaining tool.

ALTERNATIVE FACTS: The Lies of Executive Order 9066  
Director: Jon Osaki

This documentary feature film is about the false information and political influences that led to the World War II incarceration of  Japanese Americans. Alternative Facts sheds light on the people and politics that influenced the signing of the infamous Executive Order 9066 which authorized the mass incarceration of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans. The film will expose the lies used to justify the decision and the cover-up that went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Alternative Facts will also examine the parallels to the current climate of fear, targeting of immigrant and religious communities and similar attempts to abuse the powers of the government.

Benevolence  
Director: Joanne Hershfield

Benevolence tells the story of 5 women who move onto Benevolence Farm, a working farm in rural North Carolina that is designed to be a transition home for women coming out of prison. It reveals how the women ended up in prison as well as the gender-specific issues women face when they get out, especially problems finding a place to live and securing living-wage jobs.

Calls From Home  
Director: Julia Szromba

Calls From Home captures the voices and people behind WMMT's "Calls From Home," a weekly radio program that connects incarcerated people in rural Kentucky to their loved ones.

Dying Out Loud  
Director: Molly Denton

In Dying Out Loud, female lifers in a US maximum-security prison form a band, the Lady Lifers, to sing about their lives of bad decisions, and their hope of seeing home some day. Is it fair they will die in prison even though they didn’t actually kill anybody?

Embers  
Director: Prakshi Malik

Embers explores the challenges met by two mothers with sons in trouble at school, as they face a racist high school administration.

Healing Trauma: Beyond Gangs and Prisons  
Director: Robert Greenwald

Brave New Films’ short documentary Healing Trauma: Beyond Gangs and Prisons dives into the inner struggle of former gang members whose abusive childhoods inevitably led to an anger that resulted in a criminal lifestyle and landed them in prison. Upon their release, these former gang members found their redemption with Homeboy Industries, Father Greg Boyle, and the many re-integrating programs offered through the Los Angeles-based organization.

Heart of Gold  
Director: Ella Krings

After Jerame Turner was shot and killed on November 27th, 2017, his mother and family took a vow to end the violence in their community. Heart of Gold investigates the actions that Cathy Welsh, Turner's mother, and Woodland Hills School District in Pittsburgh, PA are taking to deter gun violence.

Honey Bee  
Director: Rama Ra

Honey Bee follows the journey of quick-witted Natalie “Honey Bee” Sorensen, an underage truck stop prostitute trapped in a human trafficking ring and controlled by her pimp-boyfriend until she is transplanted into foster care in remote Northern Ontario and forced to confront her identity. 

I Was That Kid: Breaking The Cycle of Juvenile Crime  
Director: Manjula Varghese

I Was That Kid, shares the stories of David, Krystal and Will, three counselors at United Playaz, who reflect on the personal obstacles they faced as kids, which has now made them effective youth counselors today. United Playaz program coordinators David Monroe, Krystal Morales and Will Ramirez reflect on their upbringing and the choices they made as youth, which eventually lead them to working in youth violence prevention.

In Pursuit of Justice
Director: Gregg Jamback

This thought provoking story centers on the wrongful conviction of Greg Taylor. For seventeen years, Greg and his family fought to undo his wrongful conviction. It would take the creation of a unique, independent state agency - one vested with all the powers needed to determine innocence - and the revelation the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation misrepresented the truth in their scientific reporting, to set Taylor free.

Invisible Until Suspicious
Director: Free Spirit Media

This thought provoking story centers on the wrongful conviction of Greg Taylor. For seventeen years, Greg and his family fought to undo his wrongful conviction. It would take the creation of a unique, independent state agency - one vested with all the powers needed to determine innocence - and the revelation the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation misrepresented the truth in their scientific reporting, to set Taylor free.

Jail or Yale: Young, Black, and Out of Options?
Director: Christopher Spence

Jail or Yale is an expository documentary set to explore whether black boys are being trained and prepared to enter the prison system?  Is there any correlation between the bias inflicted upon Black males as they progress through the educational system, and their over representation in the criminal justice system? This researched film aims to educate and explore through interviews, research, voiceovers and illustrative visuals. 

Mni Wiconi: Water is Life
Directors: Miguel Antonio Genz & Jeremias Galante

Jail or Yale is an expository documentary set to explore whether black boys are being trained and prepared to enter the prison system?  Is there any correlation between the bias inflicted upon Black males as they progress through the educational system, and their over representation in the criminal justice system? This researched film aims to educate and explore through interviews, research, voiceovers and illustrative visuals. 

NYPD's Gang Database  
Director: Sriyanka Ray

Certainly Chicago has its problems with its gang database. In this documentary we get to dig into the NYPD's Gang Database, a blackbox of secrecy that no one knows the inner workings of. The NYPD maintains a secret database with names of people they believe to be ‘gang' affiliated, the numbers of which have jumped by 70% under Mayor Bill de Blasio, even though crime has fallen to historic lows. As of Feb 8, 2018, there are 42,334 names in the database, and 99% of those are people of color. Called “Stop and Frisk 2.0” by critics, having your name in the database can lead to further surveillance, harassment, enhanced bail recommendations, and heightened charges among other far-reaching consequences.

Outside - Daniel Laurent 
Director: Jeffrey Palmer

Outside-Daniel Laurent touches on salient themes of gun violence, psychological trauma, and racial identity, OUTSIDE is a “nightmarish mirror reflecting our troubled times.” Fueled by powerful lyrics, provocative imagery, a meaningful message, and a hopeful ending, OUTSIDE will stir emotions and light a fire within. 

Protect & Serve
Director: Kate Jopson

The issue of excessive use of force by police officers pervades our communities. In Protect and Serve, after her son is killed, Carla confronts Jim, a cop and a friend of the family. Her search for answers tears Jim between his duty and his humanity.

Rondo: Beyond The Pavement
From the High School for the Recording Arts, St. Paul, MN, in partnership with Saint Paul Almanac and SPNN

In the 1920s, Rondo, Saint Paul’s largest African American neighborhood, was flourishing. With music, theatre, African American newspapers, and businesses booming, the community was thriving—until September of 1956, when construction of Interstate 94 tore through the Rondo community. Rondo homeowners resisted the construction, and protests began. Residents were forcefully removed from their homes. Thousands of Rondo homeowners were displaced. Homes and successful businesses were demolished, and a community was torn apart. It did not shatter Rondo’s spirit. These are the stories of Rondo: Beyond the Pavement.

Stateville Calling
Director: Ben Kolak

Elderly prisoners cost taxpayers billions and are the least likely to reoffend – which is why senior citizen activist Bill Ryan, who already helped to end the death penalty in Illinois, wants to set them free. Bill Ryan can remember the first time he drove up to Pontiac Correctional Center. It was 1993 and his first time visiting a prison. He was going to meet a man scheduled to be executed in a few days. That visit set Ryan on a path to become a fervent prisoner rights activist. Scrappers Film Group's, Stateville Calling, explores one man’s fight to offer elderly prisoners facing life without parole a chance to walk free.  

**Special Preview - Not in Competition**

Survivor! 98 Second Stories
Director: Elizabeth Tobias

Survivor: 98 Second Stories, brings much needed awareness and advocacy to the sexual assault epidemic, one of the greatest human rights violations in the world.  Artist and activist, Elizabeth Tobias, amplifies her fusion of social practice, performance and film making to debut this short film blending art and documentary that shares the stories of 21 contemporary artists who have survived sexual assault and who participated in a public art project created by Tobias.  

The Chains on Edward Bailey
Director: Alex Anderson

The Chains on Edward Bailey is the story of former inmate, as he shares his experiences inside the prison system, revealing how the cycle of incarceration truly never ends.

The Color of Skin
Director: Jessica Scott

The Color of Skin is a documentary that explores what it is like for African-Americans who have been brutalized, harassed, mistreated, disrespected and discriminated against by white men. It shows the alarming reality for many African-Americans through the use of archival footage, juxtaposing past and present, to emphasize the frequency in which bigotry and hatred occur against this community in the United States.

The ISIS Trial
Directors: Ellie Bernstein & Tracy Nicole Cring

The ISIS Trial is a documentary about attacks against Somali-Americans since 9/11. It focuses on a Federal case that occurred between 2013 and 2016 in Minneapolis, orchestrated by the FBI and culminating in the trial of 3 young Somali boys, who were accused of material support of terrorism and conspiring to join ISIS. It was the second-largest Federal terrorism case in the United States. It highlights the federal government's targeting and entrapment of Muslims in the United States.

The Issue of Mr. O'Dell
Director: Rami Katz

The Issue of Mr. O'Dell is a documentary about Jack O'Dell, a 94-year old African-American civil rights activist.

The Last Day of School
Director: Clara Davis

In The Last Day of School, Kelly, a young mother, makes a choice that changes the lives of her son Caleb and his classmate Tony. We explore two paths, as Kelly chooses one-time apathy and another kindness: one ending in friendship while the other in a tragedy.

The Sweetest Land
Director: Jeffrey Teitler

After the gunshots, in urban America, trauma pagers will sound, mothers will scream and the lives of too many that matter, will forever change. Yet according to evidence, much of this was entirely preventable. Welcome to Hartford, Connecticut. Known as one of America's most violent cities, it is similar to other struggling areas across the country. However, beyond the bloodshed and bullets, every year brings a new chance to save lives, advance youth and improve a community. There are political speeches, millions spent and community promises made. But when the soundbites fade and the violence continues, who actually shows up? As seen through the midnight surgeons, the victims of violence, the beat cops and prevention organizations, The Sweetest Land investigates the real story of violence, prevention and politics, where complacency can no longer be an option. Lives can matter.

The Third Strike  
Director: Nicole Jones

The Third Strike tells the stories of four people sentenced to life in federal prison. For some, freedom depends on the ink in the President’s clemency pen. For others, freedom depends on the will of Congress. For all, freedom means a second chance. The film focuses on the transformative power of (DE)carceration, a Chicago lawyer and community organizer’s efforts to dismantle America's harsh drug laws and women's visionary response to mass incarceration.  

**Special Preview - Not in Competition**

The Voice Mail
Director: Kyle Solomon

A missed call. A tired heart. Another earth-shattering day of being Black in America. The Voicemail explores the everyday traumas experienced by Black people in America, told from the perspective of a son who takes heed of his mother’s warning. Part of a film scoring series by writer, director, and composer Kyle Solomon.

Trouble Finds You
Director: Stephanie Tangkilisan

In Trouble Finds You, Bronx native Kraig Lewis was set to graduate with a Masters in business, determined to get his son out of the rough streets of his NYC neighborhood. Instead, his life is turned upside down when he’s caught in the city’s largest gang bust in history. Now, he has to find a new path forward.

Victim Witness
Director: Emmett Soldati

In Victim Witness a criminal justice system that once failed victims in New Hampshire was changed by an attorney with a revolutionary idea: believe victims.

Where Justice Ends
Director: George Zuber

Where Justice Ends is at the intersection of two important and timely topics of social justice — conditions within the U.S. prison system and the injustices that befall transgender people encountering the law.  Where Justice Ends looks into why so many transgender people encounter the police, how those encounters often lead to discriminatory treatment, and the inhumane conditions that transgender people all too frequently experience.  Told through the words of transgender inmates and experts, and narrated by the Tony award-winning stage, screen and TV actor Brian Stokes Mitchell, Where Justice Ends casts a light on one of the most hidden social injustices in our country.

Where There Is Darkness
Director: Sean Bloomfield & Cimela Kidonakis

Having devoted his life to helping the less fortunate, Fr. Rene Robert was regarded as a "living saint" in the tight-knit community of St. Augustine, Florida. But when Fr. Rene began helping ex-convicts get their lives together after prison, the people closest to him worried that he was putting his life at risk—especially the local sheriff, David Shoar, one of Fr. Rene’s longtime friends. So, in April, 2016, when Fr. Rene failed to show up at a church service, Sheriff Shoar immediately put his best detectives on the case and local residents joined in searching for the beloved priest. It quickly became apparent, however, that Fr. Rene was not just missing—someone had taken him against his will. True crime documentary Where There Is Darkness follows the nationwide search for Fr. Rene, which resulted in a series of shocking revelations and the discovery of a 20-year-old letter in which Fr. Rene seemed to foretell his own fate.