SURVIVING AMERICA

Director & Co-Editor

(Coming 2021)

This is an intimate and urgent story about life after prison set in rural Georgia. Over the course of shooting the film, we got to know a dozen men living on the campus of a shuttered insane asylum. They had been recently released from prison after serving 20-40 years in some of the country's most violent institutions and now face life in the free world with very little reintegration support.

Many of theses survivors of the prison industrial complex revealed traumatic childhoods shaped by abuse and addiction. Most made the choices that ultimately landed them in prison as teenagers or young men. Through it all, they have never been offered counseling or comprehensive education. Now, ejected back into the world, they are free, but have almost no access to the resources that would help them rejoin society in a meaningful way.

Every week 10,000 people are released from prison in the US. Within 5 years, 75% will end up re-incarcerated. What exactly does society expects of these people, and how we value their life both inside prison and out? It seems that as a society, we prefer to pretend they don’t exist at all. Are we a culture that locks people up and throws away the key? Do we believe in atonement and redemption? How much longer can the fabric of our society sustain this model of carceral punishment over rehabilitation? 

 

This film is an effort to put a face on these disturbing incarceration statistics and generate conversations that can lead to real systemic transformation. We cannot disrupt the cycles of trauma that feed violence and abuse without the willingness 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.