Tuesday, October 4, 2022
Justice on Trial Film Festival to Feature 12 Social Justice Films, Guest Appearances from Jennifer Siebel Newsom, David Arquette, Authors Asha Bandele & Donna Hylton
By Sentinel News Service
Published September 13, 2018

“Building Justice,” a film by Ultan Guilfoyle about architect Frank Gehry’s work with students studying the inhumanity of prison design, and “The Real Background Check,” an animated short by ANWOL co-director Tiffany Johnson, will also make their debuts at the film festival.

Now in its sixth year, the Justice on Trial Film Festival, hosted by A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project (ANWOL), is putting justice-impacted people and their stories at the forefront for two days of films and talks at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, on September 29 and 30.

This year’s schedule features 12 full length and short films. Two films will have their world premiere at the festival. The first is Building Justice, which follows architect Frank Gehry’s exploration of prison design with Yale and SCI-Arc architecture students, A New Way of Life, and Impact Justice. The second debut is from ANWOL co-director Tiffany Johnson: her autobiographical animated short, The Real Background Check, explores what happens to people before they enter the criminal justice system. Other films include:

  • Rikers: An American Jail
  • Survivors Guide to Prison
  • Let My People Vote
  • The Bail Trap: An American Ransom
  • Returning Citizens

Filmmakers will be on hand after each screening to answer questions in short Q&A sessions.


In addition to films, the agenda includes a lineup of panels and speakers. Saturday afternoon’s Women’s Power Panel will feature ANWOL co-director Tiffany Johnson, whose animated short, The Real Background Check, kicks off the festival; poet, activist and When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir co-author asha bandele; and Donna Hylton, activist and author of A Little Piece of LightJennifer Siebel Newsom, the second lady of California and founder of the Representation Project, will also give remarks at 12:45 pm on Sunday afternoon. Other guests and panelists include producer David Arquette (Survivors Guide to Prison); Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA-D 37th District); Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas; and Leonard Noisette, Justice Team director at Open Society Foundations.

Non-film events at the festival include a solitary confinement virtual reality experience, available throughout the morning and early afternoon on Saturday, and a “living library” on Sunday, where festival goers can sit down with formerly incarcerated women and their children and talk to them about their experiences.

To purchase tickets ($25 general admission, $10 students with ID) or to view a complete list of films and a full schedule of events, please visit www.justiceontrialfilmfestival.net.


The Justice on Trial Film Festival originally grew out of a conversation between A New Way of Life founder Susan Burton and The New Jim Crow author Michelle Alexander in 2013. It creates a platform for the stories of those impacted by mass incarceration — narratives that often go unheard or are distorted by stereotypes.

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Categories: Movies
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