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The Documentary Center at GWU is thrilled to announce that SnagFilms and the DC Office of Motion Picture and Television will make a special award presentation to the 2010 Institute for Documentary Filmmaking for their film RELEASED TO LIFE.

SnagFilms Founder, Ted Leonsis and DC Mayor Vincent Gray will come to GW on Monday, Jan 30 at 1:00 PM to confer the award. There will be a special screening of the film and a post-screening panel.

About the film: After spending years separated from society, how would it feel to return home to a place that you no longer know? Each year over half a million people in the U.S. are released from prisons and jails. They have served their time, but the shadow of their past convictions continues to follow them.Released to Life focuses on several recently released individuals in their struggle to redefine themselves and offers a view into the unique challenges they face.

We will screen the short film (17 minutes) and the post-screening panel will include:

Michael Curtin, CEO, DC Central Kitchen (confirmed)
Nancy Ware, Director, Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (confirmed)
Eric Weaver, Film Subject, Ex-Offender (confirmed)
Phil Mendelson, D.C. City Council, Chair, Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary (tentative)
Paul Quander, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice (invited)

To register and for more information, go to:

Come out for this great film by GW students!


Released to Life has been the proud recipient of the Grand Jury Award for a Student Film at DCIFF. Congrats to all of the participants and to DCIFF for screening our work.

For more details and to buy tickets please visit DCIFF

Friday, March 11, 7pm – Hot Topics – Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Real Representation
– Food Stamped
– Priceless
– Released to LifeFilmmaker(s) in Attendance
Gala Theatre (3333 14th Street NW, Washington D.C., DC 20010) Metro: Columbia Heights  

We are proud to announce another screening of Released to Life that will take place in Florida!

Here is a note from the Love Your Shorts Film Festival:

CONGRATULATIONS! We’re pleased to inform you that your film has been selected for screening at the 2011 Love Your Shorts Film Festival, February 11‐13 in Sanford, Florida. As it is our first year of holding this event, we were astounded at the number of submissions we received. We are proud of our program this year, and we are especially pleased that you have chosen us as a venue to showcase your work!

Click Here for more details about the screening!


Released to Life will be screening at Sankofa on January 14th at 6 pm.

See their newsletter here:

Sankofa Newsletter!

Screening in Boston

Posted: December 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

There will be a screening in Boston tomorrow Wednesday night at 7pm at 549 Columbus Avenue. It will be hosted by the Lucy Parsons Center. If you happen to be in New England be sure to drop by!

Dear Friends,

As you all know, “Released To Life” was screened at the Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville on Nov 6, 2010. I would like to give you a quick update on how it went. Four of us, Erika Rydberg, Greg Upwall, Jason Wilder Evans and myself attended the festival. Before the screening, I was asked to give a brief introduction of the film. Following the screening was a Q&A session with the audience. The audience asked questions about funding for prison education programs, success rate for the people who went through the DC Central Kitchen program, any difference among the prisons in different states, etc. Erika, Greg and Jason did a nice job sharing what we learned from the making of this film and elaborated the messages our film is intended to deliver. It is very gratifying to hear one gentleman from the audience say, “Thank you. You opened my eyes.” After I left the theater, one woman walked up to me and said, “Your film is great.” Our film was in competition for Best Short, but unfortunately we didn’t win. Nevertheless we all feel that it’s a very rewarding experience to see our film being watched by the public audience.

Aside from the film festival, Yavar Moghimi, one of our editors, whose day job is Psychiatrist, took our film to a workshop at the World Association of Social Psychiatry in Morocco at the end of October. There were about two dozen viewers from all over the world, including Netherlands, India, Spain, Austria, US, Japan and Germany. Yavar did a short presentation after the screening on incarceration in the U.S. and issues related to reentry. Overall the feedback was quite positive. Most folks did not know the extent of this problem in the States. Some folks had experiences working in jails in their home countries and they shared the issues they faced. We will continue our effort in bringing the film to more audience. I will certainly keep you posted on any future events. On behalf of our team, I wish you all a great holiday season!

Sincerely, Lily Hua Qin