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I'm currently in post-production on my first feature-length documentary, Surviving America. This is an intimate and urgent story about life after prison, which I shot with my partner and DP, Daniel Fox, over six weeks during the fall of 2019 in rural Georgia. We got to know a dozen men living on the campus of a shuttered insane asylum. They were recently released from prison after serving 20-40 years. They now face life in the free world with very few resources and support for rehabilitation and reintegration.
Every week, 10,000 people are released from prison in the US. Within 5 years, 75% will end up reincarcerated. We quickly began to wonder what exactly society expects of them, and how we value their life both inside prison and back out. It seems that as a society, we prefer to pretend they don’t exist at all. This film is a response to that. I believe that putting a face on these disturbing incarceration statistics is vital to generating conversations that leads to real transformation. We cannot disrupt the cycles of trauma that feed violence and abuse without being willing to see one another in context: people cause harm because they have experienced harm and do not have the tools to heal, grow, and rehabilitate.