holding bodies: a justice anthology

Exploring the New Orleans criminal justice system as a reflection of our nation’s larger system, this series highlights arrest, pre-trial detention, and incarceration experiences.

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Funding Initiative
Short-Form Open Call
Headshot of Milo Daemgen

Milo Daemgen

Milo Daemgen has produced music videos for artists such as Mavis Staples, Arcade Fire, and Big Freedia, and has directed pieces for Polaroid and the AIA. His work has been shown in art galleries and international film festivals. He served on the executive board for New Orleans Public Access TV and is the founder of the New Orleans Film Collective.

Headshot of Alex P Willson

Alex P Willson

Alex P Willson is a Grammy award-winning filmmaker who lives between New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Portugal, and works between documentaries, journalism, music videos, commercials, and films. He gravitates to projects that confront unjust systems, tell untold stories, and allow for creative artistic expression. 

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Cassi Rumping

Cassandra Rumping is a New Orleans-based producer and filmmaker. Her work ranges from commercial, music video, to documentary, as well as short and feature narrative films, with companies and studios like Roku, Atlantic Records, Disney, and Viacom. Through her work, she aims to tell stories that foster awareness, advocacy, and create impact.

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Executive Producer

Audrey Rosenberg

Audrey Rosenberg is a Peabody Award-winning, Emmy-nominated producer known for cultivating talent, developing material, and championing award-winning film, television, and documentary projects from inception to release. Audrey is a firm believer in the power of storytelling to raise consciousness and promote healing on a global scale.

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The Film

Through animation, observation, and subject participation, the three-part series holding bodies: a justice anthology delves into the New Orleans criminal justice system and explores the collective experiences of arrest, pre-trial detention, and incarceration. Through first-hand accounts and vivid memories, episodes paint a visceral portrait of a justice system that detains without charges, convicts without a jury, and releases individuals back into society with PTSD from their experiences. 

The first episode, “First Disappearances,” explores the post-arrest journey when an individual is processed into jail, held overnight, and then brought shackled to court for the first time. By using animation, the episode connects multiple stories to create a singular collective narrative. The second episode, “D.A. Time,” examines the length of time an individual can sit in jail before they are charged with a crime (in Louisiana it is 60-120 days) and how this long period of pre-trial incarceration often impels individuals to plead guilty. The final episode, “After Angola,” follows a small group of men who have spent significant time inside of Angola, once the most violent prison in America. The episode’s exploration of collective workshops in film, storytelling, and peer counseling reveals the long-term trauma the men still experience. By considering the justice system through an experiential lens, the series asks us to reconsider the intention, design, and process of America’s justice system.