We are excited to tell you about our latest project, THE RETURN, an ITVS coproduction that will broadcast nationally on PBS and premiere at festivals in early 2016. After years spent documenting the profound harm caused by the punitive American criminal justice and mass incarceration systems through our previous work, we were eager to embark on the making of THE RETURN - which features a constellation of characters (prisoners, judges, family members, reentry providers) at the center of an unprecedented sentencing reform with implications for the nation.
We began filming in 2012 when California voters were on the verge of making national history by passing Proposition 36, a law amending "Three Strikes,” considered one of the country’s harshest sentencing laws for sending thousands to prison for life for often petty, nonviolent offenses. The resounding passage of Prop 36 made CA voters the first ever to scale back sentences of the currently incarcerated. Overnight, thousands became eligible for release.
We had rare access to Soledad Prison (home to hundreds of Prop 36ers), the L.A. Superior Court (where more than 1,000 resentencing hearings are being heard by a single judge), the Stanford Three Strikes Clinic, and reentry homes. We also had the incredible privilege of filming families who were welcoming back loved ones whom they never thought they would see home again. Our story is complex — one that reveals both hope and struggle and illuminates the devastating ripple effects of mass incarceration on individuals, families, and communities. The film’s central issues range from the incarceration of the mentally ill to racial disparities in sentencing, to the criminalization of addiction and the multigenerational legacy of missing fathers, as well as the urgent need to rethink reentry support for millions of Americans.
Recently the conversation around widespread criminal justice reform has been gaining bipartisan and mainstream traction. We are optimistic that we are entering a “change moment.” With your help THE RETURN can be a powerful tool for engagement and impact by inspiring and galvanizing the public to demand reform.
PLEASE JOIN US!
WHY WE NEED YOU We are in the midst of editing the film but need $50,000 to get us to the strongest possible theatrical / festival cut. With your help we can finish THE RETURN and launch it into the world.
FUNDRAISING FOR THE RETURN We have had the amazing support and good guidance of so many including: Executive Producer Anne Devereux-Mills our incredible coproduction partners at ITVS, The Filmmaker Fund's Minette Nelson & David Eckes, as well as Emily Verellen at the Fledgling Fund and their incredible Engagement Lab. We have been supported by Chicken & Egg, Chicago Media Fund, Ford Foundation, Vital Projects Fund, and California Council for the Humanities. Finally, we have received the generous support from our donors: Julie Hess, Satch Slavin, Nancy Blachman, and Susan Termohlen.
But the time has come for us to go wide and deep.... to bring many more of you into the fold as we charge toward a 2016 premiere.
WHAT IS KICKSTARTER? We have just 30 days to meet our $50,000 funding goal. If we don’t raise all $50,000 in 30 days WE LOSE IT ALL! Scary. So get on board at ANY level and please help spread the word.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
*DONATE TODAY We are looking to you — our community of colleagues, family, and friends — to make this this campaign a success. Please support THE RETURN and help educate the public about draconian US sentencing laws; collateral damage to families and communities; and the need for reentry support on both sides of prison walls.
* SHARE Make this historic moment matter and push the campaign as far as it can go by sharing this Kickstarter page and our web site with your social networks. Personal outreach is key to getting the message out.
* KEEP IN TOUCH Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and we will keep you up to date on what’s coming down the pike in Congress and about the amazing work of our partners at ACLU, Brennan Center for Justice, and the Vera Institute for Justice, among others.
KELLY DUANE DE LA VEGA and KATIE GALLOWAY |
DUANE DE LA VEGA'S and GALLOWAY’s feature documentaries explore the intersections of institutional power, civil and human rights, and political activism and have played at hundreds of film festivals around the world, broadcast nationally and won awards including the WGA’s Best Documentary Screenplay Award; Gotham Independent's Best Documentary Award and multiple National Emmy nominations. Their most recent film EL POETA (PBS VOCES, 2015) follows Mexican poet and activist Javier Sicilia, who ignited an ongoing international movement for peace after the brutal killing of his 24-year-old son in the international War on Drugs. Their feature documentary BETTER THIS WORLD (POV, 2011-12) tells the story of two young men from Midland, Texas, charged with domestic terrorism, and their relationship with a radical mentor and undercover FBI informant. The film won numerous prestigious awards and nominations and is being developed as a narrative feature.
Galloway and Duane de la Vega are both two-time Sundance Fellows and recent HBO / Film Independent Documentary Fellows. They teach in Media Studies at UC Berkeley where they were also recent Filmmakers in Residence at the Journalism School's Investigative Reporting Program. In addition to their long form projects they have produced and directed short format work for New York Times Op-Docs, Mother Jones, IFC, among others.
Prior to joining Loteria Films GALLOWAY directed and produced PRISON TOWN, USA (POV, 2007 with Po Kutchins), which was developed as a fiction television series by IFC, for which she co-wrote the first three episodes.
DUANE DE LA VEGA’s documentary MONUMENTAL: DAVID BROWER’S FIGHT FOR WILD AMERICA (PBS/DOCUMENTARY CHANNEL, 2004) opened theatrically nationwide, was acquired by the Smithsonian for its permanent collection, and is used by more than 50 universities internationally.
ARIELLA BEN-DOV | PRODUCER
Ben-Dov has produced a range of award-winning documentaries including Academy Award-winning director Debra Chasnoff’s THAT’S A FAMILY and the RESPECT FOR ALL film series. She is an internationally recognized curator who specializes in independent cinema across genres, including avant-garde, animation, and documentary. As director of the Margaret Mead Film Festival (American Museum of Natural History,) she expanded the event to encompass installations, multimedia performances, and educational programs for school age children across New York. Ben-Dov co-founded the MadCat Women’s International Film Festival and served as its executive director/curator from 1996–2012. She has presented her programs at numerous venues internationally including: Brown University, Harn Museum of Art, Harvard Film Archive, Pacific Film Archive, RISD Museum of Art, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Ben-Dov co-curated the 51st Flaherty Seminar, Creative Demolition: Reconstructing Culture Through Innovations in Film & Video. She has taken part in and moderated panels on alternative exhibition, documentary and experimental filmmaking at Sundance, among other festivals. She is on the board of directors of the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC) and the Flaherty Film Seminar.
ANNE DEVEREUX-MILLS | EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Devereux-Mills is theChief Strategy Officer of Lantern, a start-up that is using technology to bring mental wellness programs to people otherwise underserved by current options. Anne also founded Parlay House, a salon-style gathering of 600+ Bay-area women that fosters connection, experience and personal growth. She is a board member of BeyondZ and Marchex, a mentor for both Open a Door Foundation and the Aspen Institute, as well as a founder of the iHUG Foundation. An activist on issues related to social justice, Anne was a key member of the team that helped pass California’s Proposition 36, which brought fair sentencing to thousands of non-violent inmates as part of California’s Three Strikes reform. Earlier, Anne was the CEO of a number of healthcare marketing agencies in NYC. She is a Wellesley College alumna, the proud mother of two amazing daughters and a Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute.
Risks and challenges
We are committed to finishing THE RETURN by this Fall. So much is riding on this — there are important pieces of legislation coming before Congress that will have the power to transform thousands of individual lives and communities across the country. We believe THE RETURN can play a big part in that change. We need your SUPPORT to finish the film this Fall. Join us.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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