‘The Prison Within,’ filmed at San Quentin, to premiere at 35th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Written by on 01/15/2020

by Erin Kenway

The upcoming feature-length documentary film, “The Prison Within,” will make its world premiere at the 35th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), one of the leading film festivals in the United States.

“The Prison Within” is narrated by Hill Harper (The Good
Doctor, Homeland, CSI:NY, Covert Affairs) and author of “Letters to an Incarcerated Brother,” which
speaks to the current mass incarceration crisis. Award-winning composer Ruth
Mendelson developed the original score for the documentary.

“The Prison Within” is a relevant and timely documentary
exploring the destructive impact untreated trauma has on individuals and
communities through the powerful stories of survivors of violent crimes and
prisoners incarcerated for murder in San Quentin prison. The prisoners and
survivors come together and participate in the Victim Offender Education Group
(VOEG), an innovative restorative justice program enabling prisoners to
discover how the trauma they’ve experienced contributed to their criminality
and to understand the impact their crimes have on their victims.

Together, the prisoners and survivors confront and expose
the pain and shame caused by the extreme trauma they’ve experienced throughout
their lives. Seattle-based director Katherin Hervey, a former Los Angeles public
defender and volunteer prison college instructor, is the first filmmaker to
gain access to chronicle these intimate and revealing sessions inside San
Quentin Prison.

This film serves as an example of how all people can change,
how we can evolve as a community, and the power of connecting to the humanity
in others, even those who have committed harm. The filmmakers aim to inspire a
dialogue about the shared responsibility we all have to collectively heal our
mass incarceration crisis; and to motivate definitive community justice reform
that breaks the cycle of recidivism and the criminalization of marginalized
communities.

“The Prison Within” will premiere at SBIFF, Jan. 16, 2020,
at 10:20 a.m. PST at Fiesta Theatre, 916 State St., Santa Barbara. Immediately
following the premiere, documentary director and producer Katherin Hervey will
join members of the cast in a Q&A. A second screening is Jan. 18 at 5:00
p.m. PST at Metro Theatre, 618 State St., Santa Barbara.

This film serves as an example of how all people can change, how we can evolve as a community, and the power of connecting to the humanity in others, even those who have committed harm.

The film features expert voices from nationally recognized
leaders within the restorative justice community. Guest experts include Sonya
Shah, sujatha baliga and Troy Williams.

Sonya Shah, founder and director of The Ahimsa Collective,
has over 20 years’ experience in social justice education and over 10 years’
experience in restorative justice. She is also an associate professor at the
California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) and recipient of the
prestigious Fulbright fellowship and Jacob Javitz fellowship.

sujatha baliga is the director of The Restorative Justice
Project at Impact Justice and a former victim advocate and public defender, who
was awarded a Soros Justice Fellowship in 2008 that she used to launch a
pre-charge restorative juvenile diversion program. She was recently awarded the
prestigious MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant.

Troy Williams, formerly a prisoner at San Quentin, is the
co-founder of the San Quentin Prison Report (SQPR) and a current Soros Justice
Fellow. As SQPR’s producer, founding chairman and chief executive officer, Troy
spent the last seven years of his incarceration teaching his peers to produce
audio works behind prison walls, working out of the same media lab now used by
Ear Hustle. He also helped develop the curriculum for the Victim-Offender
Education Group (VOEG) and has facilitated other restorative justice programs,
both inside and outside of San Quentin.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival attracts
95,000 attendees annually, offering 11 days of 200+ films, tributes and panels,
with a mission to engage, enrich and inspire people through the power of film.

Source: San Francisco Bay View


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