Bianca, Treena, Laura, and Caitlin are a stark reflection of the troubling worldwide tendency to criminalize and imprison the most vulnerable in society—those most affected by poverty, addiction, childhood trauma, and mental illness.
Together with long-time prisoners’ rights advocate Kim Pate and others, these women collaborate with the filmmakers to answer a deceptively simple question: What would you have needed to avoid incarceration? Through art, photography, filmmaking and poetry, the women inside envision a more ideal world on the outside.
Their creative agency emerges as a force that empowers them to chart the course of their own lives, and they become increasingly engaged in making Conviction—not another ‘broken prison’ film, but rather a ‘broken society’ film.
Conviction takes us on a raw and cinematic journey, while making the impassioned argument that we would do better to create communities that heal and support our most vulnerable, rather than punish them further.
Conviction envisions alternatives to prison through the eyes of women behind bars and those fighting on the front lines of the decarceration movement.
Conviction envisions alternatives to prison through the eyes of women behind bars and those fighting on the front lines of the decarceration movement. Not another ‘broken prison’ film, this collaboration is a ‘broken society’ film—an ambitious and inspired re-build of our community, from the inside out. The film compels viewers to examine why we imprison the most vulnerable among us, and at what cost.
Offence. Conviction. Imprisonment. Release. Repeat, and repeat. The women featured in this sober, clear-eyed documentary trudge this demoralizing circuit like clockwork. It is questionable, in their cases, what the Canadian corrections system is actually correcting.
Meet Bianca, Treena, Laura, and Caitlin. All are affected by childhood trauma, which has led to chronic health issues and disturbing symptoms including substance abuse, violence, and self-harm. The four are a stark reflection of the troubling worldwide tendency to criminalize and imprison the most vulnerable in society, among whom the rates of addiction and mental illness are shocking.
Together with long-time prisoners’ rights advocate Senator Kim Pate and others, these women collaborate with the filmmakers to answer a deceptively simple question: What would you have needed to avoid incarceration? Through art, photography, filmmaking and poetry, the women inside envision a more ideal world on the outside. Their creative agency emerges as a force that empowers them to chart the course of their own lives, and they become increasingly engaged in making not another ‘broken prison’ film, but rather a ‘broken society’ film.
As they navigate the revolving prison door and its false promise of freedom, the women playfully forge From the Ground Up, a housing community that would offer safety, skills to address their problems, and strategies for functioning in society. Their dreams prove that some of the most viable alternatives may be found in the most unlikely places.
Women are the fastest-growing demographic of Canada’s prison population, and Indigenous women are disproportionately represented in these numbers. The film compels viewers to question the status quo, and takes us on a raw and cinematic journey, making the impassioned argument that we would do better to create communities that heal and support our most vulnerable, rather than punish them further.
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
FEATURING OUR COLLABORATORS
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
LOCATION SOUND RECORDIST
SOUND DESIGN BY
ORIGINAL MUSIC BY
ADDITIONAL MUSIC BY
‘MORE THAN A NUMBER’
WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY MUSICAL COLLABORATORS AT
NOVA INSTITUTION FOR WOMEN
ADDITIONAL COLLABORATORS AT
CENTRAL NOVA SCOTIA CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
ANTHONY VON SECK
SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT
ADDITIONAL LOCATION SOUND RECORDING
LOCATION MUSIC RECORDIST
SPOKEN WORD FACILITATOR
DOUG WOODS, 902 POST INC.
ASSISTANT ONLINE EDITOR
TITLE DESIGN & ANIMATION
JEAN PAUL VIALARD
STUDIO MAVEN AND ADDITIONAL DIALOGUE EDITOR
ASSISTANT SOUND EDITOR
PRO TOOLS ASSISTANT
MALIK BEALS hobbi3 muzik
DIGITAL EDITING TECHNICIANS
DEVELOPED WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF
CANADA MEDIA FUND
PRODUCED WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF
PRODUCED WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF
THE GOVERNMENT OF NOVA SCOTIA,
NOVA SCOTIA FILM AND TELEVISION PRODUCTION INCENTIVE FUND
PRODUCED IN ASSOCIATION WITH
IN ASSOCIATION WITH DOCUMENTARY CHANNEL
A SEA TO SEA AND NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA CO-PRODUCTION
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, QUEBEC ATLANTIC STUDIO
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ENGLISH PROGRAM
MICHELLE van BEUSEKOM