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My experience with juvenile justice began in 1986 at a detention center in Reno—as an offender—an experience that galvanized my interest in how we deal with at-risk youth. I am a storyteller at heart, and I try to use that gift to inform, persuade, and enlighten, with a keen interest in social justice issues. I have produced, shot, and directed content for television, theatrical and web distribution, with broadcast partners that include ABC News, MSNBC, A&E, Channel 4 (UK), The BBC, and Discovery International. I also started a nonprofit that helps the formerly incarcerated pursue meaningful careers in the entertainment industry.

Current and Past Projects

LEMON GROVE (Finalist Sundance Episodic Lab)

Click below to view the deck for the scripted series currently making the rounds.

LOGLINE: Lemon Grove is the story of the segregated gangs inside the prison system.  It is a fictionalized account of how the various groups—Latinos, Whites, Blacks, and Guards—must coexist under the same roof, all subject to precarious politics, business rules, and with the risk of things blowing up over the smallest transgression.  It opens when a juvenile, sentenced as an adult, lands at Lemon Grove setting off a story that will ultimately lead to a fight for prison reform.  Drawn from true experiences of men who have served time in our toughest prisons, Lemon Grove is real, it is gritty and it humanizes the prison experience. 

Adobe Spark Page

EIGHTEEN

Click below to view the deck for the scripted web series currently in development.

LOGLINE: When Nando, an aspiring filmmaker, walks out of juvenile detention, he confronts not only the typical challenge of reentry––returning to an impoverished, gang-ridden neighborhood with little opportunity––he also runs smack into a community disrupted by a demagogue president’s hardline immigration policies

Eighteen

KINGS OF THE YUKON

A portrait of the Yupik way of life and how the decline of King salmon in Alaska is threatening their centuries-old way of life. Watch the prologue: https://vimeo.com/137912108 

Roles: Director, Producer
Currently in Production

More Information: Film's Website

They Call Us Monsters

A feature documentary directed by Ben Lear that takes a balanced look at the practice of trying juveniles as adults.  Although such young men are often accused of committing very serious offenses, Ben gives you the chance to spend time with them in a way that will help audiences be better informed about the issue.

Roles: Co-Producer, Camera
More Information: Film's WebsiteFilm's Facebook Page

Know Before You Go Web Series

A web series for teaching life skills to transition age foster youth.

Roles: Creator, Director, Producer

SB1052 Advocacy Video

A piece I produced for Human Rights Watch and the Fair Sentencing of Youth to advocate for a bill that would ensure juveniles understand their Miranda Rights before waiving them.

Roles: Producer, Photographer

Healing Dialogues and Action

ORG video for an amazing group of folks that host dialogues between survivors of violent crimes and the families of perpetrators.

Roles: Director, Producer

Lingo 101 with Jose

Just a fun bit of trading with unearned knowledge.


The David Mendoza Story (working title)

What began as a simple 8-day documentary spiraled into a year-long saga of a Los Angeles family's youngest son trying to cross the threshold to adulthood while leaving behind the baggage of an adolescence marked by serial incarceration, gang life, and addiction.

Clips available: https://vimeo.com/114052501

Roles: Co-Director, Producer, Cinematographer
Production on hold due to the incarceration of our primary subject


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We All Live Once Forever

A film that looks at how we live forever through the impressions we make on the people around us. The story is both an intimate portrait of the fight against a potentially terminal illness, and a celebration of life, love, and the power of human connection. Excerpt is  viewable here:

https://vimeo.com/117327159: 

Roles: Director, Producer, Cinematographer
Slow rolling in Post-Production


Meet Jesse

Awesome little piece I produced and directed with the graduates of my community nonprofit program, ManifestWorks young people who's lives have been affected by juvenile justice and public foster care systems. 


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Murder in Enchanted Hills (A&E)

A deeper look into the stories of Paul Gingerich and Colt Lundy we uncovered in Young Kids, Hard Time.  In this extended version of a doc we did for Channel 4 in the UK, we dig a bit deeper into the circumstances surrounding the crime that resulted in both boys being sentenced to 25 years in the adult prison system.

Roles: Executive Producer, Field Producer

 


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12-Year-Old Lifer:
The Paul Gingerich Story (Channel 4)

In 2010, Paul Gingerich took part in the murder of his friend's step-father when he was a couple weeks past his 12th birthday.  To this day, the primary reason Colt Lundy was compelled to kill his step-father remains a mystery to everyone except Colt.  This special documentary released in Britain, France, and Australia looks at the rural Indiana community and both boys' families that were forever changed on that spring afternoon.

Roles: Executive Producer, Field Producer


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Inside The Gangsters Code (Discover Intl)

The Burqueños are the newest gang on the New Mexico prison scene.  In this one-hour episode, ex-mobster Lou Ferrante travels to some of the state's most notorious prisons and into the barrios of Albuquerque in search of the Burqueños' roots and power players.

Roles: Producer, Field Producer

 


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Young Kids, Hard Time (MSNBC)

Young Kids, Hard Time is an award-winning 2-part series from Calamari Productions that throws back the veil on the reality of young kids serving long sentences behind adult prison walls. Wabash Valley is home to the Youth Incarcerated As Adults cellblock (YIA), where 53 kids eat, sleep, study and recreate while being alienated from their adult counterparts. But once a youth turns 18, they are transitioned into the adult population, where thousands of adult prisoners await.

 Roles: Producer, Field Producer
Award: PASS Award for Outstanding Documentary

Watch Online Now


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Parole (A&E)

Get to know the kids of maximum security prison as they work their way through the levels to end up at their Parole hearing.

Roles: Producer, Field Producer


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Lake County Juvenile Justice (MSNBC)

From the confines of America's juvenile detention facilities to the razor wire of juvenile prison to the heart pounding juvenile courtroom hearings where everything is on the line, Lake County Juvenile Justice (Cradle to Jail on Hulu) explores where juvenile crime begins, how it evolves, and what's at stake for kids, families and professionals in the system.

Roles: Producer, Field Producer
Awards: Crystal Clarion, Gracie Allen Award - Outstanding Documentary Series

Watch now on Hulu 


Alt Media

Two Shorts to support the Policy Advocacy for SB9 in California

Two pieces that I produced for the policy campaign championed by The Fair Sentencing For Youth and Human Rights Watch to pass Senate Bill 9, giving individuals who were given life sentences as juvenile a shot a second chance..

Roles: Producer, Writer, Shooter
Distinction: SB9 is now a law!


Untitled Interview Project


PREA Orientation Video

This is a piece I wrote, produced and directed for The Texas Juvenile Justice Department. The video is an effort to help youth coming into the system understand how to avoid sexual victimization in juvenile facilities and how to report potentially inappropriate behavior.  My aim with this video was to make it frank, conversational and most of all, watchable. I used the blank background and an Erol Morris-ian interretron device to achieve the direct-to-camera address.

Roles: Creative Director, Writer, Cinematographer


The Green Dean Webisode Series

Way, way back in 2006 before Going Green became the benevolent cliché that it is today, I created a web series featuring ASLA luminary, Dean Hill, where we highlighted many ways that homeowners good employ sustainable landscaping practices without breaking the budget.  

Roles: Creator, Creative Director, Producer
Awards: Nominated for both a Webbie and a Regional Emmy.