Life After Life is a new documentary I am making about the long journey home after incarceration, an especially challenging path for those who were incarcerated as juveniles. In 2006 I was asked to teach yoga inside San Quentin Prison. As a crime survivor I was nervous to walk among violent men, but I was immediately struck by how much the men resembled the at-risk youth in my other classes. They were larger and older but essentially the same. They had been left behind — their adolescence interrupted by trauma and violence. I wondered, how would they ever make it outside if they had the opportunity to go home.
I’ve been an activist my whole life and started folding my passion for social justice into filmmaking 12 years ago. I have spoken on prison and human rights issues at agencies and universities such as Equal Justice Society, Houston Institute, and Stanford Law. I was awarded NCCD’s Media for a Just Society Award in 2009, and I presented a TEDx talk ‘Life After: Embracing our Common Humanity’ in 2013.
In my travels across the nation, speaking about prison reform and the tragedy of the cradle-to-prison pipeline, I’ve been told over and over by people I meet that I’m telling their story. That somehow Life After Life is bringing voice to their trauma, their journey. 4 years into the process of filming my 17-year-old nephew was charged with a murder as an adult and I began to see from the inside how vulnerable we all are to this system.
These stories need to be told. That's why I'm making this film — but I can't do it without you.
I'm in the final stretch of production — I've already received support from the film and social justice foundations including Cal Humanities Foundation, Pacific Pioneer Film Fund and The Annenberg Foundation as well as individual donors and a previous Kickstarter campaign. All that support has gotten us here. Now as I'm reaching the end of the journey I need your help to finish the film.
LIFE AFTER LIFE Synopsis
As adolescents trapped in a world of drugs, violence, and daily trauma, Noel, Harrison and Chris quickly lost their way. Before they could become adults, they were locked up in prison—given sentences that could leave them in their cells for the rest of their lives.
Years later, they were given another chance: parole. Life After Life follows their stories upon their release—each very different, each with unexpected, often heartbreaking turns and detours. Understated and surprising, “Life After Life” reveals what their paths to a new life—often measured in small, awkward steps—can teach us about the prison system, American life, and our own values.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
- Donate! Any amount will help fund the completion of Life After Life and raise awareness about the cradle-to-prison pipeline and terrifying odds for those reentering society after incarceration.
- If you can’t donate, please share our project with your social networks. Lending your voice in support is greatly appreciated.
- Stay in touch and stay tuned in. Right now Juvenile Life without Parole (JLWOP), Solitary Confinement and Elder Lifer laws are being discussed and decided. And in the wake of Ferguson, Stop and Frisk, and Freddie Gray, the country is finally taking a look at the effect disproportionate police contact with minorities is having across the country.
WHY ARE WE USING KICKSTARTER?
We’ve been working hard on Life After Life for more than eight years, but the film isn’t finished. There are final interviews with the subjects and family members to film, and narration to write and record. We also need funds for post-production — to finalize the edit, add music, mix the sound, do color correction and make sure everything is ready to submit to film festivals.
We’ve received generous support from individuals and organizations who believe in Life After Life. Their help has allowed us to come a long way, but we need your help to cross the finish line and tell this important story.
But it's about more than just the money. A Kickstarter campaign allows us to build a community of smart, involved people who care about reforming the current system of corrections, and to begin building healthy and educated communities. We want our backers to be engaged partners on the journey of Life After Life. We look forward to reaching out to you with ideas, updates and information.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Director | Producer Tamara Perkins is a change maker focused on documentaries that inspire dialogue, empower and provide voice for vulnerable communities. She founded Apple of Discord Productions and developed programs such as the Wisdom Project and San Quentin Media Project that train at-risk youth and incarcerated men in filmmaking as a tool for transformation. She has spoken on prison and human rights issues at agencies and universities such as Equal Justice Society, Houston Institute, and Stanford Law. Tamara was awarded NCCD’s Media for a Just Society Award in 2009, and presented the TEDx talk ‘Life After: Embracing our Common Humanity’ in 2013.
Cinematographer | Co-Producer Jesse Dana has filmed both narrative and documentary features and hundreds of commercials and music videos over the course of his career. His commercial work has earned him four Emmy Awards, two of his features have received national releases, and his documentary work has garnered a national News and Documentary Emmy nomination. Many of his projects have appeared in festivals all over the world including Sundance, Tribeca and Cannes. More of his work can be seen at www.jessedana.com.
Editor | Associate Producer Kevin Jones has been editing documentary feature films for over 10 years. Films such as the Emmy award winning “A Lion in the House” (2006) and the Tribeca Film Festival audience favorite “Burn” (2012). He studied film at Wright State University in Dayton Ohio. More of his work can be seen at www.kingjones9000.com.
Risks and challenges
Since Life After Life is close to being finished, we have far fewer risks than a project that's just beginning: we've completed primary filming and have access to the men and family members for any final pick-up filming.
The biggest risk we face now is not completing the film because of a lack of money. We need finishing funds to take the film from the current rough cut to a fine cut that is ready to send to festivals and then broadcast.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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