If California is at times seen as an indicator of where the United States is headed, then the state’s 9 million young people under the age of 18 will play an increasingly significant role in shaping who we are and the issues that we care about both regionally and nationally in coming years. In collaboration with California Humanities Council’s CA 2020 Youth Docs series SneakerHead (in production) is a story that sits at the intersection of poverty, race and coming of age, revealing how a love of sneakers can be much more profound than superficial.
This short film follows Carlos Cervantes, an 11 year veteran of the California prison system after being convicted of attempted murder as a juvenile, as he picks up an “old-timer” sentenced to life under 3 Strikes and then unexpectedly released, and spends “the first 24” with him – helping him acclimate to a welcome but rather bewildering life outside. The short was co-released with a magazine cover piece on Cervantes, his partner, and their storied “First 24” program designed to grapple with the dearth of support or resources for those returning from prison. NYT OpDocs. 8 Min
For decades we’ve heard about America’s “dropout crisis.” Meet Dr. Victor Rios, a high school “dropout” turned author and professor, who designs programs to support students who’ve been pushed out of school. To solve our crisis in education, Rios argues, is to shift our understanding of the problem. “The Pushouts” filmmakers follow Rios and his team of mentors as they work to build an innovative learning environment for young people fighting to succeed despite overwhelming systemic barriers. “It’s not just about these kids redeeming themselves. It’s also about us redeeming ourselves – turning around the system that has really set up a lot of these young people to fail,” says Rios. “The Pushouts” explores how his journey is helping the next generation negotiate a system that seems designed to push them out. It Starts 12/20/2019 on PBS.
A story of youth, dissent, love and betrayal in post 9/11 America, ERIC & ANNA is a short film composed primarily of FBI surveillance footage in the case of Eric McDavid – convicted of domestic terrorism and sentenced to 20 years in prison for what many consider a “thought crime.” The film was one of four shorts that launched Field of Vision, the visual journalism arm of The Intercept, for which Galloway also co-wrote and reported the companion feature article, Manufacturing Terror. Field of Vision / The Intercept. 14 Min
A documentary profiles Shane Taylor, one of more than 4,000 nonviolent offenders serving life in California prisons under a three-strikes law.
2012. NYT OpDocs. 6 Min DIRECTOR/WRITER/PRODUCER This short (5 mins) weaves intimate on-camera interviews with austere prison phone calls to tell the story of Shane Taylor, one of the thousands given life for nonviolent offenses under California’s Three Strikes and, decades later, released after a historic criminal justice reform.
LIFE LESSONS SHORT FORMAT SERIES. Mother Jones & New York Times. This short film series (3 – 7 minutes each) profiles a few of the many thousands of California men and women given life sentences for “wobblers” – crimes prosecutors choose to charge as misdemeanors or felonies. Focusing primarily on “collateral damage” to families – children of the incarcerated, in particular – the series received wide, collaborative distribution on a variety of platforms in the lead up to the 2012 election, raising awareness about America’s unusually harsh and punitive policies, and how out draconian US sentences tend to be as compared to other nations. Watch Bernice’s story here which ran in Mother Jones Magazine. Three Strikes of Injustice is another short from the series.
WAKING THE FROG – A SHORT FORM MULTIMEDIA PROJECT The US has a problem: as a nation we consistently fail to contextualize our contemporary experience, rarely holding our “normal” up to international, historical or other alternative standards, approaches, models. WAKING THE FROG is conceived as a constellation of 3-5 short films each of which creatively and memorably conjures a powerful positive alternative to what currently exists/is practiced in the US, illuminating a historical, international, countercultural or other vision of how American systems of justice could evolve toward a more just, humane, economically viable, etc. As stand-alone or taken together with the films, each with a positive/constructive model at its core, take on several of the most dystopic and disturbing facts of the American status quo. This clip features our work with THIS WEEK TONIGHT ON JON OLIVER. Our main subject of THE RETURN and still a current partner of Galloway and BIG PICTURES, is featured in this segment, coming in around 14 mins. “The best piece on Jon Oliver, ever” according to Salon.
This short profiling a wildly successful Hot Chicken joint with staff and leaders almost entirely comprised of formerly incarcerated men and women, HOT CHICKEN inaugurated The Marshall Project’s Viewfinder series – its version of the New York Times op docs series launched in 2017. Press Release and additional info here:
Where press quotes go up on the right: “Hot Chicken, Fair Chance” shows how a community-minded restaurant’s inclusive hiring practices are “just good business.” – The Marshall Project
FULL PRESS RELEASE (put or link to it?): The Marshall Project has launched ViewFinder, a new vertical that will feature visual commentaries and mini-documentaries offering fresh perspectives on the criminal justice system.
“Hot Chicken, Fair Chance,” The Marshall Project’s first ViewFinder project, takes us inside a popular Columbus, Ohio restaurant that hires formerly incarcerated people to do everything from work to the fryer to run the back office.
Directed by award-winning filmmaker Katie Galloway, the mini-documentary vividly illustrates both the barriers that the formerly incarcerated face reintegrating into society and the difference employment can make to their chances for successful re-entry. Even more, “Hot Chicken, Fair Chance” highlights how employees with criminal records can be an asset, rather than a risk, to a company.
“Fair chance employment is not a warm and fuzzy charitable strategy, but a business strategy,” says Hot Chicken Takeover’s founder Joe DeLoss. “We’re building a business that’s growing rapidly so we hire high character, high hustle, just high capacity people.”
For those who have spent time in prison, finding gainful employment is among the greatest challenges. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 650,000 people are released from prison each year and it’s estimated that between 60 and 75 percent of them remain jobless year after their release.
A small but growing number of businesses are embracing fair chance hiring practices and some are spreading the word: those with records are often among the most dedicated and hardworking employees anywhere. “Hot Chicken, Fair Chance” shows how a community-minded restaurant’s inclusive hiring practices are “just good business.”