A Prisoner’s Love Story

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TYPE
: Hybrid Short
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Pre-Production

LOGLINE

In partnership with Black & Pink, the producers intend to adapt “A Prisoner’s Love Story,” written by writer Edward Walsh into an animated short film. Walsh is currently incarcerated in Florida. Illustrations for the film will be hand-drawn by an artist who is also incarcerated.

SYNOPSIS

A short hybrid documentary/animation short based on a short story written by Edward Walsh, an LGBTQ man currently incarcerated in Florida, as he grapples with forbidden feelings of love and lust for another man in his dormitory.

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

In partnership with Black & Pink, the producers intend to adapt “A Prisoner’s Love Story,” written by Edward Walsh, into an animated short film. Edward’s story is a poignant glimpse into his experience as a currently incarcerated gay person searching for love and tenderness. Our project has two primary goals: 1. To center the experience of currently and formerly incarcerated people in illustrating the human drive toward connection even in a place that brutalizes them for it. 2. To empower and support the LGBTQ and incarcerated artists and writers spearheading this project. To meet these objectives, the creative team is a partnership between filmmaker Lev Pakman (DBA Indoor Recess, LLC) and four members of Black & Pink, an open family of LGBTQ prisoners and “free world” allies who support each other. The producers are intently focused on ensuring that all artists -- especially the QTPOC artists -- affiliated with the project are properly remunerated for their time. Visibility and exposure is important, but cash keeps the lights on. Hence, we do not want to begin work on the project until we are sure all contributors can be compensated. Incarcerated artists will receive donations to their commissary or trust accounts. Any festival prize money, licensing or educational fees will be donated to Black & Pink. with a percentage of these gains going to support the two contributors who are incarcerated. Edward’s story is just one of the many LGBTQ peopled ensnared by the prison industrial complex. Black & Pink’s vital work directly disrupts the violence of mass criminalization by building community through their free newspaper, penpal program, and advocacy. LGBTQ people, particularly LGBTQ people of color and low-income LGBTQ people, are disproportionately more likely to come into contact with the criminal justice system. Family rejection, homelessness, hostility in the foster care system and other safety net systems, and the disproportionate impact of the school-to-prison pipeline often serve to funnel LGBTQ youth into the juvenile justice system.While an estimated 7% of youth in the U.S. are LGB, between 12% and 20% of youth in juvenile detention facilities identify as LGB. Federal data suggests that LGB people are three times as likely to be incarcerated as the general population, and over 40% of incarcerated women are lesbian or bisexual. During the 2008–09 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, one in six (16%) respondents reported having been incarcerated at any point during their lives. For Black transgender people, the incarceration rate was 47%. Once incarcerated, LGBTQ people face higher rates of violence and isolation. The Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics found that trans women are nine times more likely than other prisoners to be victims of sexual harassment or assault. This film will directly support Black & Pink’s work as well as draw more people into awareness and action to disrupt how mass incarceration fractures communities.

KEY CREW

Lev Pakman (he/him/his) - Producer/Layout
Lev Pakman was born and raised in New York City. He attended Fiorello H. Laguardia High School and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. During college, Lev produced and directed his first short film, SIDE EFFECTED, which was voted an “Audience Favorite” at the 2013 Palm Springs International Shortfest, earned a Vimeo “Staff Pick,” and played at festivals internationally. His next short film, FOR THE RECORD, premiered at the 2014 Hamptons International Film Festival. Most recently, he directed CPL. BRITTANY JACKSON’S SMILE, a short documentary about an LGBTQ Iraq war veteran which earned a Vimeo Staff Pick, a writeup in The Advocate, and a premiere at the Sarasota Film Festival. He produces using the production company name Indoor Recess. More at indoorrecess.tv

Gabriel Joffe (they/them/theirs) - Producer
Gabriel Joffe is an editor and communications strategist based in Boston, MA. They have been a volunteer with Black & Pink since 2012 and have collaborated with the film’s illustrator, Jamie Diaz, since 2013. Gabriel is passionate about the role of art and imagination in movements for prison abolition and trans liberation.

Edward Walsh (he/him/his) - Writer, Co-Director
Edward R. Walsh grew up in Miami, Florida and went to college at Miami Dade College, SantaFe Community College, and Florida Atlantic University. He has a degree in Graphic Design. His passion is oil painting, drawing, sculpting, photography, and computer art. He owned an art gallery in Florida before Hurricane Andrew, and his art has shown in galleries in Miami, Coconut Grove, and Gainesville. He incorporates writing into his art and has had short stories published by Black and Pink and in a Cornell University sponsored publication Prisoner Express. Edward is currently incarcerated in Florida with a release date of June 5, 2020.

Jamie Diaz (she/her/hers) - Illustrator, Co-Director
Jamie Diaz is a Mexican-American, trans woman and incarcerated member of Black & Pink. Born in the Midwest in the late 1950s, Jamie started drawing and painting at the age of 15. Though the subject matter varies widely, Jamie’s work shares a recognizable unique style. A set of symbols are woven through her art representing themes such as love, queerness, and human suffering. Each piece holds many of the complexities and emotions present in both the queer experience and human condition: good and evil, pleasure and pain, pride and persecution. Jamie’s work has been shown around the country and has been featured in publications including: Prison Health News, A Queer Prisoners Anthology (ABO Comix, 2017) and Passage & Place (Deviant Type Press, 2014). View her work at jamiediazart.com

Carrie Hawks (they/them/theirs) - Animator
Carrie Hawks harnesses the magic of animation to tell stories. The artist works in a variety of medium including drawing, doll-making, and performance. Their work addresses gender, sexuality, and race. They have shown in New York, Atlanta, Cape Town, Toronto, and Tokyo. They hold a BA in Art History & Visual Arts from Barnard College and a BFA in Graphic Design from Georgia State University. Their first documentary, Delilah, won the Best Experimental Award at the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival (2012). Their films have screened at Ann Arbor Film Festival, BlackStar Film Festival (Philadelphia, PA), CinemAfrica (Stockholm). The Jerome Foundation gave generous funding to black enuf* They have performed with Black Women Artist for Black Lives Matter, and participated in the Set on Freedom Artist Residency at the Queens Museum. View their work at maroonhorizon.com

Black & Pink - Producer
Black & Pink is an open family of LGBTQ prisoners and “free world” allies who support each other. Our work toward the eradication of the prison industrial complex is rooted in the experience of currently and formerly incarcerated people. We are outraged by the specific violence of the prison industrial complex against LGBTQ people, and respond through advocacy, education, direct service, and organizing. We put the pen-pal program at the core of our work and have facilitated over 20,000 pen pal pairings. Relationship-building through the prison walls is not only a key piece of our work but also informs the rest of our work. Black & Pink centers and takes leadership from currently and formerly incarcerated LGBTQ and/or HIV+ members and draws first and foremost from these folks’ knowledge and experience to shape our strategies. Learn more at blackandpink.org

Joanna Fang (she/her/hers) - Sound Designer
Joanna Fang is a Foley artist and Foley editor. Based out of New York Foley studio Alchemy Post Sound, Joanna is one of the few openly transgender personnel actively working in the television and film industry having performed and edited Foley and custom sound effects on numerous features films, documentaries, interactive entertainment, and episodic television since 2011.Graduating with honors from the NYU film program in 2013, Joanna immediately began apprenticing and training under APS lead Foley Artist Leslie Bloome and Foley mixer Ryan Collison. She is currently the lead Foley artist on Nickelodeon’s WELCOME TO THE WAYNE, and second Foley artist on Netflix’s MAKING A MURDERER and AMC’s FEED THE BEAST. Recently, Joanna became the first openly transgender woman to win a Primetime Emmy.

ABO Comix - Producer

ABO is a collective of creators and activists who work to amplify the voices of LGBTQ prisoners through art. By working closely with prison abolitionist and queer advocacy organizations, we aim to keep queer prisoners connected to outside community and help them in the fight toward liberation. The profits we generate go back to incarcerated artists, especially those with little to no resources. ABO believes our interpersonal and societal issues can be solved without locking people in cages. Our mission is to combat the culture that treats humans as disposable and disproportionately criminalizes the most marginalized amongst us. ABO Comix has recently been awarded grants from The California Arts Council, The Horizons Foundation, The Resist Foundation and the Tegan and Sara Foundation.

 

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