Justice on Trial Film Festival

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The Justice On Trial film festival grew out of a conversation between award-winning author Michelle Alexander and Susan Burton, founder of A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project.

The Justice on Trial Film Festival speaks to the challenges of people caught up in the judicial system. They know only too well the pain and injustice—the jail house beatings, the solitary confinement, the stop-and-frisk humiliations, the selective prosecutions with bad plea bargains, and the unreasonably long sentences that they suffer. They are painfully familiar with the school-to-prison pipeline that puts so many young people, particularly those of color, at risk. But their voices are often unheard beyond their own communities. The film festival creates an opportunity to project their voices to a world deafened by the negative images and stereotypes presented by the media.

Saturday, September 29

(Screenings will be followed by Q&A with filmmakers)
Real Background Check

RT: 30 minutes

September 29 | 11 AM

Life Sciences Building Auditorium Theatre

Q&A to follow with writer/director Tiffany Johnson and producer/animator Jonathan Clark

The Real Background Check

This animated short film is based on the real life story of Tiffany Johnson, who survived life-altering trauma caused by early childhood abuse. "The Real Background Check" breaks down what happens to people before they enter the criminal justice system.


Rikers

RT: 57 minutes

September 29 | 1:30 PM

Life Sciences Building Auditorium Theatre

Q&A to follow with Johnny Perez (Director of U.S. Prison Programs, National Religious Campaign Against Torture)

Rikers: An American Jail

From Bill Moyers comes the first film to focus exclusively on former detainees who were held at Rikers Island. Their searing testimonials about the deep-seated culture of systemic violence and corruption that has plagued the notorious NYC jail for decades add a powerful authentic voice to investigative journalism that has reported on violence and abuses at the jail.


Returning Citizens standard poster

RT: 68 minutes

September 29 | 1:30 PM

Seaver 100 Theatre

Q&A to follow with writer/director/producer Saffron Cassaday

Returning Citizens

“Returning Citizens” focuses on a passionate group of individuals who are looking for a second chance – or perhaps a chance they never had to begin with. Set in Southeast Washington, DC, the film offers a humanizing perspective on a community that has been negatively impacted by mass incarceration.


Knife Skills Alan Cooking

RT: 40 minutes

September 29 | 1:30 PM

Seaver 200 Theatre

Knife Skills

What does it take to build a world-class French restaurant? What if the staff is almost entirely men and women just out of prison? What if most have never cooked or served before, and have barely two months to learn their trade? Oscar-nominated Knife Skills follows the hectic launch of Edwins restaurant in Cleveland. In this improbable setting, with its mouth-watering dishes and its arcane French vocabulary, we discover the challenges of men and women finding their way after their release.


Bail Trap Logo

RT: 45 minutes

September 29 | 3:05 PM

Life Sciences Building Auditorium Theatre

The Bail Trap: American Ransom

Money bail is one of the main causes of mass incarceration in the United States. Yet, few people know what the money bail system is, let alone how it all works or why we need to do away with it. This short film compilation from Brave New Films explains America's broken bail system.


Wild Roots

RT: 22 minutes

September 29 | 3:00 PM

Seaver 100 Theatre

Q&A to follow with producer/director Terrell Wormley

Wild Roots

Hakeem, a reformed gang member, gets out of jail and wants to change his life around, but the hood won't left him go easily. He knows how senseless gang banging is, but what do you do when your past catches up to you?


The Talk

The Talk

After an unarmed black teen is killed, James & Maddie argue about whether they should warn their 9-year-old son about police brutality.

RT: 16 minutes

September 29 | 3:40 PM

Seaver 100 Theatre

Q&A to follow with Marlon Perrier, writer/director/star of "The Talk"


Sunday, September 30

(Screenings will be followed by Q&A with filmmakers)
Meetings with Clients

RT: 60 minutes

September 30 | 11 AM

Life Sciences Building Auditorium Theatre

Q&A to follow with director/producer Ultan Guilfoyle, Craig Webb (Gehry Partners) & Leonard Noisette (Justice Team Director, Open Society Foundations)

Building Justice

At the invitation of George Soros and his Open Society Foundations, architect Frank Gehry arranged two ‘masters' studios, one in SCI-Arc in Los Angeles, the other at the Yale School of Architecture, to investigate prison design as a subject for the best architecture students in the US. Partnering with Susan Burton of A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project in
Watts, Gehry and his students explored all aspects of prison design, learning first hand the design flaws of prison living from women who have been incarcerated in America's worst prisons and visiting what are considered to be the world's most successful prisons, in Norway.


Walking While Black Poster Large

RT: 60 minutes

September 30 | 1:50 PM

Life Sciences Building Auditorium Theatre

Q&A to follow with director AJ Ali

Walking While Black: L.O.V.E Is the Answer

"Walking While Black: L.O.V.E. Is The Answer" presents proven action steps
to bridge the painful gap between peace officers and the communities they serve. Featuring interviews with peace officers, faith leaders, educators, activists and others, the film offers an inspiring blueprint to end racial profiling and heal our communities.


EG3_UPDATE2 (2)

RT: 73 minutes

September 30 | 1:50 PM

Seaver 200 Theatre

Q&A to follow with director/executive producer Rahiem Shabazz

Elementary Genocide III: Academic Holocaust

Elementary Genocide: Academic Holocaust adds more statistical proof of the scholastic inequalities faced by Original people around the country. The documentary revisits the importance of education and its impact on self-image, family structure, financial freedom and the collective future of African/indigenous people in America and abroad.


Let My People Vote

RT: 16 minutes

September 30 | 1:50 PM

Seaver 100 Theatre

Let My People Vote

Filmed in Tampa, two days before the 2016 presidential election, this verité short covers a day in the life of civil rights activist Desmond Meade. His mission? Assisting people in voting -- something our "forefathers marched and died for."

What begins as an upbeat day of faith in our democratic process, ends with a heartbreaking realization: Jim Crow is not dead.


Picture 19

RT: 102 minutes

September 30 | 3:30 PM

Mayer Theatre

Q&A to follow with producer David Arquette

Survivors Guide to Prison

Follows the stories of two innocent men, Bruce Lisker and Reggie Cole, who spent decades behind bars for murders they did not commit. With gripping testimony from formerly incarcerated people, guards, cops, lawyers and reformers, "Survivors Guide" exposes the failed “punishment model” and examines the programs proven to work.