The U.S.A. imprisons more people, per capita, than any country in the world. Behind 2.4 million prisoners lies an infinite ripple effect of incarceration on the family and community. In just 12 minutes, A Sentence Apart weaves three intimate stories exploring how families cope and live with a loved one in prison.
Tanea is a high school senior, and her father has been in and out of jail for her entire life. As a child of a prisoner, Tanea has a 70 percent chance of going to prison herself. The film chronicles Tanea’s passion to avoid the generational curse of incarceration, and let the world know that she can be a successful woman.
Three Sundays a month, Linda Williams makes a 20-hour bus trip to visit her youngest daughter in prison. Her daughter Latasha was tried as an adult at the age of 17 and given 68 years in prison for involuntary attempted manslaughter. Linda comments on coping with the grief of a daughter in prison, keeping hope alive that Latasha will be released, and continuing to be the best mother she can.
Cheyanne is 16 years old and can remember only one birthday that her dad attended. Soon after her dad gets out of jail, Cheyanne confronts her father about the emotional toll his incarceration has taken on her.
These intimate and moving stories, told with striking images, start to scratch the surface of the complex toll incarceration takes on the world outside of the prison walls.
Jason Sussberg is an award-winning documentary filmmaker focused on BIG ideas on human progress and social justice. He started his career working in sport television for the San Francisco Giants and the Golden State Warriors. After receiving a MFA at Stanford University in film, he co-founded Dogpatch Films in San Francisco. He is a digital media generalist who trains his lens on social and political topics ranging from jailed journalists, justice system reform and futurism.
Theo Rigby is a director, cinematographer, and photographer based out of San Francisco. He believes in the power of image and sound to create awareness and dialogue about the world’s most pressing social and political issues. Theo has focused on topics ranging from the War in Iraq, to incarceration, and most recently, immigration in the U.S. His film, Sin País (Without Country), won a Student Academy Award, has screened in over 30 film festivals, and was nationally broadcast on PBS’ Independent Documentary Series, POV, in 2012. Theo started and directed an after-school digital storytelling program for immigrant youth in San Francisco, and graduated with a M.F.A. in Documentary Film from Stanford University.
“Only personal stories can truly convey to students what prison sentences really mean to loved ones left behind and just why we all should care. A Sentence Apart...
A Sentence Apart is being distributed to colleges, universities, and other organizations through New Day Films. The powerful short film is now being used in hundreds of classrooms to spark transformative conversations in classes focusing on: Criminal Justice, Psychology, Law, Human Rights, Anthropology, Sociology, American Studies, and more. A free study guide for A Sentence Apart is available for the film, just scroll up and download!
Have a story about how you used A Sentence Apart in your classroom? Any suggestions of resources that other teachers or advocates can use in connection with this film? We’d love to hear from you!