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The Orchard is set to release prison documentary The Work on Oct. 20 in New York and Oct. 27 in Los Angeles, with more cities following.
In the film, level-four inmates at California’s Folsom State Prison are joined by three men from outside the penitentiary for a four-day group therapy retreat. Set entirely in one room, the doc follows the men as they engage in the intensive therapy workshop, exiting their comfort zones and stripping down the barriers and stereotypes between the free men and the incarcerated men.
The Work is director Jairus McLeary’s first documentary. McLeary volunteered at Folsom’s therapy workshop for more than a decade before he gained the trust of the participants to film them, and co-director Gethin Aldous also volunteered at Folsom before teaming with McLeary.
The Work won the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary feature at the SXSW Film Festival and the Audience Award for best documentary at the Sheffield Doc/Feste earlier this year. The Orchard and First Look Media’s new entertainment studio Topic acquired North American rights to the film in April.
THR’s review of The Work called it “a remarkable piece of reportage” and said “it’s the way the men watch one another and listen, the way they’re fully present, that fuels the documentary. Every interaction has a visceral immediacy as well as a focused mindfulness, all of it illuminated in the dynamic camerawork of cinematographer Arturo Santamaria and his team, as well as Amy Foote’s astute editing.”
See an exclusive look at the new poster for the film below.
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