In America’s backyard, a community held captive by policies targeting gangs and drugs, sacrifices their youth for a false sense of justice, and safety. Nearly forty years later, a true path to justice and healing is led from inside their prison walls




Gilda Sheppard


Gilda Sheppard is an award-winning filmmaker who has screened her documentaries throughout the

United States, and internationally in Ghana, West Africa, at the Festival Afrique Cannes Film Festival, and in Germany at the International Black Film Festival in Berlin. Sheppard is a 2017 Hedgebrook Fellow for documentary film and a 2019 recipient of an Artist Trust Fellowship.

Her documentaries include stories of resilience of Liberian women and children refugees in Ghana; three generations of Black families in an urban neighborhood; and a film ethnography of stories from folklore started by Zora Neale Hurston in Alabama's AfricaTown. She is currently in post-production of her documentary Since I Been Down on education, organizing and healing developed and led by incarcerated women and men in Washington State’s prisons. For over a decade Sheppard has taught sociology classes in Washington State prisons and is a co-founder and faculty for FEPPS- Freedom Education for Puget Sound an organization offering college credited courses at Washington Correctional Center for Women.

Gilda is a member of the faculty at The Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus.


Saman Maydani
Editor + Producer

Saman Maydani is an award-winning director, editor, and producer of documentary and narrative films. She is attracted to the power of film as a tool for human connection and healing. Her work explores oppression and our relationships to power, focusing on the stories of women and other cultures at the margins.

Her first film "Even the Walls" won the 2015 Golden Space Needle Award for Best Short Film at the Seattle International Film Festival. In 2016, she was selected to participate in Black Factory Cinema’s final filmmaker workshop with Abbas Kiarostrami at La Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV in Cuba.


June Nho Ivers


June Nho Ivers is a filmmaker from Chicago, educated at Northwestern University, and field-tested in the broadcast commercials and music videos in Los Angeles, New York, and now lives in Seattle with her husband and two children.


Canh Nguyen

Director of Photography

Canh Nguyen received his BFA in Photography from Cornish College of the Arts in 2012. He was director of photography for Even the Walls, a documentary on the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace, the nation's first integrated public housing project. "Even the Walls" won the Award for Best Short Film at the Seattle International Film Festival in 2015.


Bonnie Benjamin-Phariss
Impact + Strategy Consultant

Bonnie Benjamin-Phariss brings decades of experience as an award-winning production executive with a proven track record of using storytelling to change opinions and lead people to action. In addition to working with the film industry’s greatest brands and creative leaders, including Disney, CNN, HBO, PBS, Discovery and National Geographic, Bonnie has vast experience bringing the public and private sectors together to build and implement campaigns - all in the service of amplifying shared value, driving impact and contributing to a more equitable world. Bonnie’s campaign experience includes multi-platform projects focused on educating girls in the developing world to fight poverty, intimate partner violence, the promise and perils of Big Data, pandemic preparedness, global health, environmental stewardship, destigmatizing nuclear power, gun violence, the high school graduation rate in the U.S., and supporting our veterans and their families. Bonnie ran Vulcan Production’s documentary division, the independent media company founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, noted for telling powerful stories and campaigns to help audiences understand the world around them, respond to challenges and bring about lasting change. Prior to Vulcan Productions, Bonnie was Manager of Creative Development and Business Administration at the Disney Institute in Orlando, Florida. She began her career as Director of Research and Development for public affairs programming for WNET in New York.


Carlos Esparza


Carlos Esparza is a composer and multi-instrumentalist from the Rocky Mountains. He co-founded the orchestral post-rock band Lullabies for Falling Empires with Richard Webb in 2009. Since 2014 he has been composing music for documentaries focusing on the topics of social justice and human rights.


Futsum Tsegai


Futsum Tsegai is a filmmaker based out of Seattle, WA. Since 2011, he has worked shooting and lighting commercial and independent productions. Tsegai's work has premiered on KCTS's PIE, Won "Best Interview" at Hotdocs International Film Festival, as well as the Frye Art Museum’s exhibit Your Feast Has Ended. In 2015 Tsegai helped co-write “Hagereseb" (Directed by Zia Mohajerjasbi), a short film about the community of Yesler Terrace taking place in the mid 90's.


Tara Munoz

Sound Recordist

Tara Muñoz, is a native to Washington State, and has been recording sound for 20 years starting with bands, and then for film and television. Muñoz has worked on many films, feature length, shorts, documentaries, and commercials shot all over the world.



This film has been made possible by the support of the Maritz Family Foundation, Riverstyx Foundation, American Satterberg Foundation, Vital Project Funds, American Baptist Foundation, Artists Trust, and many independent donors through our Fiscal Sponsor, Northwest Film Foundation.


Fabian’s Fund, Seattle Clemency Project, Village of Hope, Black Prisoner’s Caucus, T.E.A.C.H., Vera Institute, and many more. If you would like to learn how you can help support the film, please contact us.


We are currently seeking partners in helping develop and educational curriculum to guide through the discussion. If you would like to help us, please reach out.