Hillhouse created a public service documentary to highlight our nation’s urgent need for criminal justice reforms.

In 2011, the United Way of Greater Kingsport contacted Hillhouse Video Works LLC about producing a short-form video for one of its charities, John R. Hay House, a local nonprofit facility that helps people re-enter society following incarceration. During production, Hillhouse film director Steve Newton and Jane Hillhouse (owner of Hillhouse Video Works) heard heart-wrenching stories from offenders who struggled heroically to rebuild their lives. They also learned troubling statistics related to sentencing practices and the high rate of recidivism in Tennessee. Hillhouse Video subsequently launched a nonprofit film project called “Outcasts: Surviving the Culture of Rejection” to highlight these issues.

BROADCAST ON EAST TENNESSEE PBS:
“…a great local program that our viewers need to see.”

Project Goal

Led by accomplished film director Stephen Newton, Hillhouse Video Works began developing a 71-minute documentary in 2012 to spotlight the high rate of re-offending – or recidivism – that occurs not only in Tennessee but across the nation.

Methods Used

The staff of Hillhouse Video Works conducted numerous hours of research and taped more than 100 interviews to produce the film, which shows how:

  • Offenders often don’t get the help and resources needed to break the cycle of recidivism and, thus, live perpetually in a culture of social rejection.
  • American prisoners are being exploited as free labor for industry through the so-called “prison industrial complex” – a system that perpetuates incentives to lock people up with little or no attention given to individual cases or prisoner rehabilitation.

Go to cultureofrejection.org/the-film/ to view a trailer of “Outcasts.”

Recommended by Video Librarian:
“…this is a solid title that will be especially welcome in regional collections….”

Results

A world premiere for “Outcasts” was held April 26, 2014, in Blountville, Tennessee, through which Hillhouse Video Works showcased the urgent need for criminal justice reforms across our nation.

The following has since occurred:

  • Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam appointed a task force dedicated to making criminal justice reforms in Tennessee. Gov. Haslam was featured in “Outcasts.”
  • Our film was selected to air twice on East Tennessee PBS during 2014; other PBS stations are currently being approached.
  • Our film was featured at the YES! Film Festival held November 2014 in Columbus, Indiana.
  • “Outcasts” was one of 32 films jury-selected for a free, public screening at the Down East Flick Fest held in April 2015 in Greenville, North Carolina.
  • Our film was named a 2015 AVA Digital Platinum winner by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

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