The Command Center To Bring Women Home

Through a collaborative writing process, three women help bring to life an imagined space run by formerly incarcerated women for women with nowhere else to turn but to each other.

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Independent Lens
Premiere Date
November 10, 2022
21 minutes
Funding Initiative
Short-Form Open Call
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Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich

Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich is a filmmaker and artist. Her work has screened all over the world and is recognized by the Time Inc. Black Girl Magic Emerging Director’s series. Madeleine has a degree in film and photography from Hampshire College and has a Master of Fine Arts in film and media arts from Temple University.

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After Sherman
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Wren Rene

Wren Rene is a cinematographer and second generation storyteller. From behind the camera, he is pulled into the world of his subjects to create a bridge for others to see, feel, connect, and imagine. Wren makes work from a deep desire to better understand himself and others within the complicated webs of identity and the human experience.

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The Film

In Pennsylvania, the number of teenagers sentenced to life without the possibility of parole—also known as “death by incarceration”— is the highest in the nation. Between 1980 and 2014, the number of incarcerated women of all ages in the United States increased by more than 700% — rising from a total of 26,378 in 1980 to 215,332 in 2014. Yet the women in The Command Center to Bring Women Home have emerged from adolescent life sentences more resilient, driven, and optimistic than the statistics would imply. 

Through a collaborative writing process, Paulette Carrington, Starr Granger, and Tamika Bell work with filmmakers to bring to life “The Command Center to Bring Women Home,” an imagined space run by formerly incarcerated women for women with nowhere else to turn but each other. As envisioned, The Command Center is a space in which mothers can reunite and heal with their children, women are able to hold and comfort one another—grieving, atoning, mourning losses and beginning to heal. Peppered with real-life testimonies, this film commends the creation of The Command Center with support from women who are living these experiences today. Representing the more than 2,500 youth who have been sentenced to life without parole in the United States, Paulette, Starr, and Tamika have much to share.