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Freedom Road
A film by Lorna Ann Johnson
2004, 35 minutes, Color/BW, DVD
Order No. W05879
FREEDOM ROAD is a barren stretch that leads in and out of the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women. Yet for some of the women incarcerated there, freedom has been redefined through the power of the pen. A testament to the profound influence of arts and education, Lorna Johnson’s compelling film features six female prisoners who are part of a unique memoir-writing workshop called “Woman is the Word.” Reading classic autobiographies such as INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF A SLAVE GIRL by Harriet Ann Jacobs and THE CANCER JOURNALS by Audre Lorde, the women are empowered to claim the events of their own lives and retell their own stories—ultimately liberating them from long-held secrets and silence.

Moving interviews with the women inmates, their instructors and family members combined with verité footage of their fascinating classroom discussions reveal how poverty, under-education, domestic abuse have had a role in the destiny of many women in the program. Ultimately, the film examines the devastating cycle of imprisonment for the poor and underprivileged, and points to an inspired embodiment of prison reform.


  • Big Bear Lake Film Festival
  • Femmes en Resistance Film Festival

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    “By choosing subjects in the most disenfranchised segment of our society- women in a maximum security prison- the filmmaker vividly portrays the human potential to learn, imagine, and heal.”
    Janet Wilson
    Assistant Professor of Theatre, Illinois State University

    “A wonderful think piece for students of human behavior. The images of the incarcerated women in this documentary stay with me for days every time I see it. I was so moved by the potency of this film that I made its viewing required in all my classes.”
    John Krimmel
    Department of Criminology and Justice Studies, The College of NJ

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    Freedom Road is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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© Women Make Movies, 2005
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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us