Hard Road Home

Two former felons in different stages of life on the outside.

Hard road home 01
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
February 26, 2008
60 minutes
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2008 News and Documentary Emmy Awards-Outstanding Informational Programming Emmy
  • Producer/Director

    Selina Lewis

    Alston macky filmmaker bio

    Macky Alston

    Macky Alston’s award-winning documentary films include The Killer Within, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006 and aired on the Discovery Channel in 2007; Questioning Faith, which premiered at the Full Frame Film Festival and the Hot Docs International Film Festival and aired on HBO/Cinemax in 2002; and Family Name, which premiered at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival and aired on P.O.V. in 1998. Alston’s awards include the Sundance Film Festival Freedom of Expression Award and the Gotham Open Palm Award. He has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Today Show as well as in The New York Times. Alston is director of Auburn Media, a division of the Center for Multifaith Education at Auburn Theological Seminary, which is dedicated to informed, engaging coverage of religion in the media.

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    The Film

    Odds are that if you go to prison and are lucky enough to get out, you’ll be going back sooner or later. Before Julio Medina was incarcerated, he was a drug-dealing gang leader who had narrowly missed death countless times. Twelve years later, upon his release from prison, Julio has committed himself to being a different kind of leader — helping people live, instead of making people die.

    He created Exodus Transitional Community, a program in New York City’s East Harlem dedicated to breaking the cycle of incarceration, particularly among people of color in New York.

    Hard Road Home begins as 21-year-old Griffik Negroni wanders the streets looking for a path that won’t lead him back to jail. His face is rough, cut up, and fierce. When he gets to Exodus, he is received with warmth and realism. In Griffik’s angry eyes, the Exodus caseworkers see versions of themselves when they were young.

    The people portrayed in Hard Road Home aspire to freedom and security “on the outside” while grappling with the constant challenges posed by poverty, addiction, peer pressure, suspicion, family, rage, despair, and the desire to escape. The film illustrates the seemingly insurmountable effort and amount of energy, resources, and strength of character required to change the fate of just one person.