Girls on the Wall

A group of incarcerated teenage girls are given a shot at redemption in a most unlikely form: a musical.

Film Signature Image
Premiere Date
December 26, 2009
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2009 Chicago International Film Festival-Special Mention Jury Award
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2010 Bermuda International Film Festival-Best Documentary
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2010 Chicago/Midwest Emmys-Best Documentary of Current Significance Emmy
  • Producer/Director

    Heather Ross

    Heather Ross spent much of her childhood tagging along to film classes with her graduate-student mother. After obtaining bachelor’s degrees in film/video and psychology at UC Santa Cruz, she produced segments on all seven continents as associate producer of the feature documentary, Naked World (HBO). On Mean Girls (Discovery Health), she worked with a Show more diverse group of girls, from cheerleaders to cholas, whose stories illustrate a hidden culture of girls’ aggression. She has gone on to direct and produce programs for Discovery Channel, A&E, MTV, FX, and Fox including the acclaimed series Intervention. Girls on the Wall is her first feature. Show less

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    The Film

    The teenage girls of Warrenville Prison are not your average delinquents. Having “graduated” from juvie to prison, these are the kids most likely to remain in the correctional system their whole lives. They are also some of the sharpest and most irrepressible young women you’ll meet. When the girls of this heartland prison are given an unlikely shot at redemption — the chance to write and stage a musical based on their lives — they must relive their crimes, reclaim their humanity, and take a first step toward breaking free of the prison system.

    Each girl in the cast must come to terms with her own darkest moments as she takes her story to the stage. Whitney uses a blend of charm and intimidation to avoid writing about her past, until she’s ready to confront her infamous crime. Hot-tempered Rosa must grapple with her own abuse when a similar story shows up in the musical’s plot. And runaway Christina’s life takes its own plot twist when a sheltered suburban family offers to adopt her. As the performance unfolds, their stories give us a visceral understanding of why a girl becomes a criminal ... and how she can get back.