Friday, May 14, 2010

The Putnamville Redemption

The extended trailer for the recently completed documentary The Redemption Project: Inmates Got Talent is full of life, thanks largely to the pixie-ish presence of blond-haired comedian and director Johnny Collins. Narrated by rapper Ice-T, the movie documents how Collins and co. extracted a whole lot more than the usual outsider-prisoner dialog by helping inmates at Indiana's medium security Putnamville Correctional Facility put on a talent show. Sixty hours of footage was shot over an eight-day period in 2008.

The beauty of Collins and collaborator Joel Jerome's M.O. is that they take the more comedic, Michael Moore-like approach to the serious business of convicts and their crimes. As a result, the prisoners open up in a way that is rarely seen this side of a fictional effort such as 1994's beloved Best Picture nominee The Shawshank Redemption. Authorities at Putnamville were so happy with the results that they have given Collins the green light to return for a follow-up web series or documentary sequel; but for now, the Chicago resident's priority is to find a broadcaster or distributor for the film.

[The Redemption Project: Inmates Got Talent]

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