Synopsis by Bhob Stewart
This documentary about life among the 5,000 inmates of America's largest maximum security prison, Louisiana State Penitentiary, was the co-winner (with Frat House) of the Documentary Grand Jury award at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. Filmmakers Jonathan Stack and Liz Garbus worked closely with their guide, prisoner-turned-author Wilbert Rideau, the editor of a prison magazine. The film focuses on the stories of six prisoners, including nervous newcomer George Crawford; elderly Eugene "Bishop" Tannehill, who visualizes a future of eternal salvation; long-time death row inmate John Brown; and dying wife-killer Logan "Bones" Theriot, whose life was so linked to the prison that he overruled his family's wishes by choosing to be buried on the prison grounds. This film had its origins in Stack's earlier documentary, Damned in the USA, which a right-wing religious group had attempted to suppress. Joining Stack in his legal battle against the group was New York lawyer Martin Garbus, who won the case. Garbus introduced Stack to his daughter, Liz Garbus. The two teamed up, found Rideau, and then spent a year on-location, shooting in high-resolution Beta and Sony tape (transferred to 16 mm). Curtis Lundy provided the jazz score for the 93-minute film, narrated by Bernard Addison.
maximum-security, prison, prison-warden