Breaking out of the jailhouse drama genre

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“IF YOU could give your life a title, what would it be and why?” It is a seemingly innocuous question, one a person might ask to break the ice with a new classmate or prospective love interest. In “It’s a Hard Truth Ain’t It”, Madeleine Sackler’s new documentary, which follows the progress of a prison film-making class, it is one of the only questions that matters. Rushawn Tanksley, one of the 13 incarcerated men working on the documentary, has a ready answer. “It would probably be ‘What if?’”

Mr Tanksley and his co-producers are currently imprisoned at Pendleton Correctional Facility in Indiana. Take away the towering concrete walls separating the complex from a highway, and the prison could be mistaken for any midwestern college gymnasium. But Pendleton is also where Ms Sackler shot her first fictional feature film, “O.G.”, starring Jeffrey Wright (pictured)—and dozens of prisoners. Both premiered this April at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. 

If Ms Sackler’s goal was to break the…Continue reading

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