CAST THE FIRST STONE: NEW ORLEANS FILM FESTIVAL FEATURE PREVIEW

CAST THE FIRST STONE: NEW ORLEANS FILM FESTIVAL FEATURE PREVIEW

Posted by on Oct 18, 2014 in Cast The First Stone, News, Press Release | 0 comments

Source: Southern Glossary Brad Rhines October 17, 2014 Cast the First Stone shows a side of Angola prison that most people never see—the good side. The film focuses on inmates in the prison’s Drama Club who, along with female inmates from the nearby Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women, are preparing to stage a production of The Life of Christ. Like the play they’re producing, the story of Cast the First Stone is one of forgiveness and redemption as these men and women find salvation in one of the country’s most notorious prisons. In recent years, Angola’s reputation has started to turn from one of America’s worst prisons to a shining example of rehabilitation. Much of the credit goes to Burl Cain, the warden at Angola since 1995. Cain is a divisive figure, praised for his efforts to reform the culture of violence at Angola, and denounced for his harsh treatment of those inmates who don’t toe the line. “He uses a huge carrot, and he uses a huge stick,” says David B. Deniger, executive producer of Cast the First Stone. This film focuses mainly on the carrot. Cast the First Stone isn’t so much about the inmate’s production of Life of Christ as it is about the men and women who are involved in it. The production is helmed by Gary Tyler, an inmate at Angola since 1974, serving life without parole for second-degree murder. Jesus is played by Bobby Wallace, serving 66 years for armed robbery. Levelle Tolliver, who plays Judas, is another lifer. So is Sandra Starr, convicted of killing an abusive boyfriend, who plays Mary Magdalene. Justin Singleton, a young man just nine years into his life sentence, plays the Disciple Peter, who famously denied Christ three time before affirming his love for him. “To actually be something that portrays change is awesome,” says Singleton on screen. Later, he tells another inmate, “You don’t know who I used to be. If you did, you’d never put your hands on me. But I’m not who used to be.” As a tale of redemption, Cast the First Stone is incredibly powerful. The inmates featured in the film are the ones that have found hope in a hopeless place, and they are a testament to Warden Cain’s belief in rehabilitation through the moral teachings of religion. “The Drama Club is one of the carrots that the warden’s philosophy generates,” says Deniger. “The warden doesn’t care why you’re there. He doesn’t care what you did. None of that matters. All that matters is how you conduct your life once you’re there, and for those who exhibit a long term–I’m talking 10 or 15 years–of doing what they’re supposed to do, they can become ‘trustee’ status. Basically, in that status you pretty much have free reign anywhere on the prison.” While the trustees remain under constant supervision, they have ample opportunities to...

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‘Cast the First Stone’ set for Nov. 12 at Delta Grand Theatre

‘Cast the First Stone’ set for Nov. 12 at Delta Grand Theatre

Posted by on Oct 30, 2013 in News, Press Release | 0 comments

Click  Below To View Article http://www.katc.com/news/cast-the-first-stone-set-for-nov-12-at-delta-grand-theatre/#_ The St. Landry Parish Adult Reentry (STAR) Coalition is hosting a screening of a new film directed by Jonathan Stack and executive produced by David B. Deniger, “Cast the First Stone” on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. at the Historic Delta Grand Theatre in Opelousas, Louisiana. “Cast the First Stone” is a feature documentary about the most powerful story in history performed by men and women for whom it is perhaps most relevant. The story unfolds at the Angola Prison, on 18,000 acres – the largest maximum-security prison in the United States – where, in May 2012, 75 inmate actors at the Angola Prison and the Louisiana Correctional Institution for Women (LCIW) came together and after two years of rehearsals, over the course of three days, before an audience of a thousand free people, performed the Passion of Christ in perhaps the largest theatrical event ever staged in a prison. “Cast the First Stone” intercuts the lives of the actors with the “making of” footage as well as scenes from the play performed. The film explores the deeper meaning of Christ’s message and its particular relevance to men and women who have acknowledged their sins and are serving some of the longest sentences in the world. An intimate powerful view of redemption in real time, it is as much an insight into the life of the incarcerated as it is a chance to deepen ones understanding of Christ’s teachings. The film’s distribution is bypassing television and theatrical releases and being offered through Highest Common Denominator Fund (HCD Fund). HCD Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes and is dedicated to enhancing public education, promoting and defending human rights, and fighting the cruelty and hardships caused by prejudice and discrimination. HCD Fund supports master storytellers in the documentary film industry who can not only focus attention on social injustice, but also do so in a fashion that draws an audience into meaningful action. The film’s director, Jonathan Stack, has written, produced and directed films for over 25 years with a catalog of 50 television programs including The Farm: Angola, USA, which was honored with the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize, and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Stack – who says this is the best film he’s ever made – will be present for the screening as will some of the actors. “Truly, this is an event you don’t want to miss”, says STAR Coalition Chairperson, LaVonya Malveaux who has been working with the HCD Fund group, community leaders, businesses, and faith-based organizations to bring the film to St. Landry Parish. “The parish’s reentry coalition was formed in 2010 to provide supportive assistance to “returning citizens” being released from local jails. We are excited to partner with the HCD Fund to build on...

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