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WOMEN BEHIND BARS: Voices from the Inside
Although female offenders represent the fastest-growing prison population in the U.S., navigating the criminal justice system remains a complicated and painful process. These eye-opening films feature women coping with inadequate facilities, raising children from behind bars, overcoming substance abuse, sexual trauma and chronic recidivism, speaking out against domestic violence and struggling to nurture dreams long deferred. Journeying from the swamps of southern Louisiana to the classrooms of a maximum security Iowa prison, this diverse collection goes behind the scenes – and behind the bars – of an America incarcerated.

Special Offer! Purchase 5 films from this collection for only $495! Call 212-925-0606 x3600 or email orders@wmm.com to purchase.

films in this collection

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Blind Spot: Murder by Women
A film by Irving Saraf, Allie Light and Julia Hilder

Because murder by women is still relatively rare--only one out of eight murders in the United States is committed by a woman--women's own stories provide unique insights into the circumstances leading to these violent acts. In this absorbing documentary, intimate one-on-one interviews with six women murderers are combined with re-enactments of their background experience and visual re-creations of their interior lives. Sharing and reflecting on their memories, fantasies, dreams, and anger, the six women candidly describe their actions as perpetrators in detail and address the issue of having taken a life. More

DVD Sale $195.00

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Freedom Road
A film by Lorna Ann Johnson

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. More

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The Grey Area: Feminism Behind Bars
A film by Noga Ashkenazi

THE GREY AREA is an intimate look at women’s issues in the criminal justice system and the unique experience of studying feminism behind bars. Through a series of captivating class discussions, headed by students from Grinnell College, a small group of female inmates at a maximum women’s security prison in Mitchellville, Iowa, share their diverse experiences with motherhood, drug addiction, sexual abuse, murder, and life in prison. The women, along with their teachers, explore the “grey area” that is often invisible within the prison walls and delve into issues of race, class, sexuality and gender. More

Julien Dubuque International Film Festival, Best Documentary

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Mothers of Bedford
A film by Jenifer McShane

 Women are the fastest-growing U.S. prison population today. Eighty percent are mothers of school-age children. Jenifer McShane's absorbing documentary gives human dimensions to these rarely reported statistics, taking us inside Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison north of New York City. Shot over four years, MOTHERS OF BEDFORD follows five women - of diverse backgrounds and incarcerated for different reasons- in dual struggles to be engaged in their children's lives and become their better selves. It shows how long-term sentences affect mother-child relationships and how Bedford's innovative Children's Center helps women maintain and improve bonds with children and adult relatives awaiting their return. More

Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival, Best Documentary
Social Justice Film Festival, Director's Choice Award

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900 Women
A film by Laleh Khadivi

“The Louisiana Correctional Institute is located in the swamps of southern Louisiana in the small town of St. Gabriel. Built in 1970 to house an increasing population of female convicts, today it houses the state's most dangerous female prisoners and often exceeds its population capacity of 900. 75% of these are mothers and one fourth of them are serving sentences of fifteen years or more. The prison compound has a surreal quality; there are no searchlight-capped towers or barbed wire fences. Filmmaker Khadivi delivers a striking, sensitive portrait of life in this deceptively peaceful atmosphere, which is filled with stories of life on the streets, abuse, freedom, childbirth and motherhood. More

DVD Sale $325.00

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Sin by Silence
A film by Olivia Klaus

From behind prison walls, a group of extraordinary women are shattering misconceptions of domestic violence. An important film that profiles Convicted Women Against Abuse (CWAA), the US prison system’s first inmate initiated group and led by women, SIN BY SILENCE is an essential resource featuring more than two hours of bonus materials, including interviews with experts on abusive relationships, law enforcement leaders and leaders in faith-based communities about domestic violence, and more. More

Winner of the 2011 ALA “Notable Video for Adults”
Sacramento Film and Music Festival, Audience Award for Best Documentary

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Troop 1500
Girl Scouts Beyond Bars

A film by Ellen Spiro & Karen Bernstein

Their mothers may be convicted thieves, murderers and drug dealers, but the girls of Troop 1500 want to be doctors, social workers and marine biologists. With meetings once a month at Hilltop Prison in Gatesville, Texas, this innovative Girl Scout program brings daughters together with their inmate mothers, offering them a chance to rebuild their broken relationships. Intimately involved with the troop for several years, the directors took their cameras far beyond meetings to explore the painful context of broken families. Powerful insight comes from interviews shot by the girls themselves, which reveal their conflicted feelings of anger and joy, abandonment and intimacy—as well as the deep influence their mothers still have on them. More

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Violence Against Women: Ending the Silence

Highlighting the extraordinary strength of women who survive sexual assault, institutional disregard, domestic violence and more, these films break the historical silence that has often surrounded issues of violence against women. See the full collection here.

AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women

Shooting Women

Including the essential civil rights films CHISOLM '72 - UNBOUGHT AND UNBOSSED and STANDING ON MY SISTERS' SHOULDERS, the acclaimed documentary LOVE & DIANE and biographies on the inimitable Audre Lorde and Beah Richards, the African American Collection celebrates the lives of African American women and the contributions they have made to their families, their communities and society. 

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