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Winner of 11 festival awards and a Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury nomination, SHAKESPEARE BEHIND BARS follows a year in the life of the renowned Shakespeare Behind Bars troupe at Luther Luckett Correctional Facility in Louisville, Kentucky.
Led by director Curt Tofteland, whose innovative work with Luther Luckett inmates began in the mid-1990s, the prisoners cast themselves in roles reflecting their personal history and fate. Their individual stories, including information about their heinous crimes, are brilliantly interwoven with the plot of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. As the inmates delve deeply into the characters they portray, they are forced to confront their personal demons.
The result is an extraordinary story about the creative process and the power of art to heal and redeem–in a place where the very act of participation in theatre is a human triumph and a means of personal liberation.
SHAKESPEARE BEHIND BARS is written and directed by Hank Rogerson and produced by Jilann Spitzmiller. Rogerson and Spitzmiller are a husband and wife team that has collaborated on projects for over 25 years, including the award-winning documentaries STILL DREAMING, HOMELAND and CIRCLE OF STORIES.
Produced by Philomath Films in association with the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and the BBC, with major funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The film has received other major support from the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund, and was selected for the first-ever Sundance Institute Documentary Story and Edit Lab, as well as the Sundance Documentary Composer’s Lab.