The Prison in Seven Landscapes

A meditation on the prison’s disappearance in the era of mass incarceration, The Prison in Seven Landscapes unfolds as a cinematic journey through a series of Show more landscapes across the USA where prisons do work and affect lives. Show less

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Independent Lens
Premiere Date
May 8, 2017
60 minutes

Brett Story

Brett Story is a writer and independent non-fiction filmmaker based out of Toronto and New York. Her films have screened at True/False, Oberhausen, Hot Docs, the Viennale, and Dok Leipzig, among other festivals. Her first feature-length film, the award-winning Land of Destiny (2010), screened internationally and was broadcast on both Canadian and Show more American television. Her second feature documentary, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes (2016) (The Prison in Seven Landscapes for American TV broadcast) was awarded the Special Just Prize for Canadian Feature Documentary at Hot Docs, the Prize for Best Canadian Documentary at the DOXA Documentary Festival, and a Special Jury Mention at the Camden International Film Festival. Her journalism and film criticism have appeared in such outlets as CBC Radio and The Nation magazine, and she is currently completing a book manuscript for the University of California Press titled The Prison out of Place. Brett holds a PhD in geography from the University of Toronto and is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Place, Culture and Politics at the City University of NY Graduate Center. She was the recipient of the Documentary Organization of Canada Institute’s 2014 New Visions Award and the 2016 Governor General’s Gold Medal from the University of Toronto for academic excellence. Brett is a 2016-2017 Sundance Institute Art of Nonfiction Fellow. Show less

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The Film

More people are imprisoned in the United States at this moment than in any other time or place in history, yet prisons have never felt further away or more out of sight. The Prison in Seven Landscapes excavates the hidden geographies of the modern prison system by offering a film about the prison in which we never see an actual penitentiary. Instead, it journeys through a series of seemingly ordinary landscapes across America, for a series of surprising discoveries: a California mountainside where female prisoners fight raging wildfires; a warehouse full of boxer shorts and specially sanction cassette tapes; a park with ex-incarcerated chess players; an abandoned coalfield; and a host of other unexpected spaces.