(66 minutes) USA
Director: Leslie Neale
Producers: Leslie Neale, Mark Wahlberg and John Densmore
From award-winning documentary filmmaker Leslie Neale (Road to Return) comes this riveting look at a world most of us will never see: the world of juvenile offenders who are serving incredible prison sentences for crimes they either did not commit or were only marginally involved in. For two years, Neale taught a video production class at Los Angeles Central Juvenile Hall to 12 juveniles who were all being tried as adults. Juvies is the product of that class, which was a learning experience for both students and teacher – and becomes a learning experience for all of us, as we witness the heartbreaking stories of children abandoned by families and a system that has disintegrated into a kind of vending machine justice. Narrated by actor Mark Wahlberg, himself a former juvenile offender, Juvies follows the lives of a group of young people who will serve most, if not all, of their lives behind bars. The kids talk about the mistakes they made and what they would do if they had the chance to do things differently. What has gone wrong with our juvenile justice system? And can it be changed before more young lives are destroyed forever? Juvies offers no easy answers, but it will make you think long and hard about what democracy and justice really mean.
Leslie Neale lends 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry, and her dedication to criminal justice reform to this film. Her first film, Road to Return, was narrated by Tim Robbins, and was about the successful return of ex-cons into society. Road to Return won several prestigious national awards and screened for the United States Congress, prompting a Senate Bill from the House Judiciary Committee to fund the aftercare program in six more states. Leslie then directed Rhythm of the Heart, for Wisdom Television and Winstar TV & Video and A Healing Presence, for the Medical Mission Sisters, a six-minute promotional piece for use by the warden of Ironwood State Prison on the graduating ceremonies of the Palo Verde College Class of 2003. Juvies, Leslie’s current documentary, came about as a result of volunteer teaching a video production class at Los Angeles Central Juvenile Hall. She began this class after being invited to observe a writing program for high-risk juvenile offenders in 1999. Juvies is about juveniles being tried as adults, their lives within the system and the collapse of the American juvenile justice system.
Chance Films, Inc.
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