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CAST THE FIRST STONE: NEW ORLEANS FILM FESTIVAL FEATURE PREVIEW

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CAST THE FIRST STONE: NEW ORLEANS FILM FESTIVAL FEATURE PREVIEW

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 participate in activities that get them out of their cells. In fact, for a prison documentary, the film shows very little interaction with guards or with other inmates outside of the Drama Club. Prisoners are rarely seen behind bars and only occasionally in cuffs. Instead, many scenes are filmed on the bucolic campus of Angola, beside a lake or in a wide-open recreation area, as the inmates rehearse their parts...

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Cast The First Stone Winner Best Documentary Bahamas International Film Festival

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Cast The First Stone Winner Best Documentary Bahamas International Film Festival

Cast The First Stone Documentary 2013 – Winner Best Documentary Bahamas International Film Festival (December 2013) and Audience Award Best Feature Documentary 93 min, HD MARKET PREMIERE, CANNES FILM MARKET MAY 2014 Cast The First Stone Seventy-five inmates from Angola Prison and Louisiana Correctional Institution for Women, come together to perform the largest prison production of The Passion Play ever. CAST THE FIRST STONE is a 93 minute documentary based on the most popular story in history as performed by men and women for whom it is perhaps most relevant. The film cuts between the daily lives of the inmates with scenes from the play that are performed throughout the prison. It is an intimate and searing portrait of redemption. The actors, whose own experience mimics the characters they are playing, help us experience these biblical characters in ways rarely portrayed. Leading the effort is prisoner, Gary Tyler, who in 1974 at age 16 was the youngest person in America on death row. With 40 years behind bars, four on death row and six more in solitary, his wisdom guides the ship and assures its success. The film is directed by multiple Emmy winning and two-time Oscar nominated director Jonathan Stack....

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The Exchange Radio Hosts Cast The First Stone

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The Exchange Radio Hosts Cast The First Stone

This podcast was recorded on November 12, 2013 for the purposes of the radio show “The Exchange” on KRVS 88.7 FM located at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Show host, Cheryl Castille, asked guests Jonathan Stack (Director and Producer), Alyson Feaster (Associate Producer and Marketing Specialist), and LaVonya Malveaux (Opelousas City Court Judicial Administrator) to speak on her show regarding the documentary film, Cast The First Stone. Malveaux orchestrated a screening of the film in her town of Opelousas and Castille wanted the community to learn more about the film and it’s potential influence in communities across the country. Stack and Feaster discuss the background and history of making the film as well as giving extra insight into the inmate characters’ lives....

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

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

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 the spirit of the film and create a community that supports the STAR Coalition and HCD Fund’s missions”, states Malveaux. “The film, itself, will change many, many lives, and this is a chance for St. Landry Parish to be a part of it.” The screening is free but due to the limited seating at the Delta Grand Theatre, persons are requested to RSVP by emailing Alyson@hcdmediagroup.com or Lavonya@opelousascitycourt.com. You may...

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Casting ‘The First Stone’ | Faith | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA

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Casting ‘The First Stone’ | Faith | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA. BY MARK H. HUNTER Special to The Advocate May 01, 201 Cast The First Stone – The Movie Cast The First Stone – The Movie Cast The First Stone – The Movie Film follows inmate actors in Jesus play at Angola prison In “The Life of Jesus Christ,” a play starring Louisiana inmates, convicted murder Sandra Starr portrays the woman caught in adultery — a sinner publicly humiliated and threatened with execution, until Jesus tells her accusers, “Let him who has no sin cast the first stone.” In “Cast the First Stone,” a new 93-minute documentary that goes behind the scenes of the making of the play, a clip from a rehearsal of the scene where Starr is thrown at the feet of Jesus, is followed by an interview where she describes her life of abuse, of pulling a trigger, of killing her boyfriend. “All my life I was rejected,” says the 41-year-old inmate in the 18th year of a life-without-parole sentence for second-degree murder. “I didn’t have any hope.” The film, by Jonathan Stack, Nicolas Cuellar and David B. Deniger, of Higher Common Denominator Media Group, tells stories of hope that emerged as a cast of 55 male actor/inmates from the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola and 20 female actor/inmates from the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women at St. Gabriel rehearsed and performed the play for the first time in 2012. “I’m not the same person I was when I came in here,” Starr said. “I was my own god, and I didn’t know God. “Now I know who God is and I trust him,” she said with a big smile. “My mission now is to share him with other people. I want everybody to feel this happiness.” While Higher Common Denominator Media Group has not finalized distribution plans, filmmaker Stack said he hopes the film will catch on in the Christian community in a grass-roots sort of way, similar to the way the “Courageous” and “Fireproof” movies have. Cindy Mann, executive director of the Louisiana Prison Chapel Foundation, a “Life of Jesus Christ” sponsor, said she and Angola Assistant Warden Cathy Fontenot are planning to show the documentary at the state’s other prisons and as well as in churches and similar venues in the coming months. The film was first screened privately March 27 for the Angola actors-inmates and premiered publicly on March 28 at LCIW for more than 200 visitors and LCIW actors-inmates and officials. During the screening, film-makers Stack and Deniger sat among the women in the audience. “It is never more powerful than when you show it to the people who it means the most to,” Stack said. “That’s why we chose the first screening here — not in New York or at a film festival.” Serey Kong, who plays the young Virgin Mary, was amazed at the screening. “For the first time in a long time they portrayed us as humans — behind the numbers, behind the statistics,” Kong said with a big smile. “It gave me hope and inspiration to be better.” The documentary intersperses clips of play-practice filmed in April and May 2012 at various locations around the Angola prison grounds with testimonials from actors and scenes from...

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Cast The First Stone – Film Background

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Cast The First Stone – Film Background

Cast The First Stone – Film Background Down a long and lonely road, our story unfolds in one of the oldest and largest prisons in the US. The prison is set along the banks of the Mississippi River on land that has witnessed as much pain and misery as anywhere. First a Native American burial ground, then a slave plantation, a breeding ground for slaves up to the Civil War and a home to prisoners ever since; Angola Prison is a world unto itself. Welcome to the filming of Cast The First Stone. In May of 2012, seventy-five inmates at Angola Prison and Louisiana Correctional Institution for Women (LCIW) came together to put on the performance of their lives. Over the course of three days, before an audience of a thousand free people, these inmate actors performed the Passion of Christ in perhaps the largest theatrical event ever staged in a prison. The women, in shackles, traveled 100 miles every day by bus. The men were cast from among the 6,000 plus for whom this prison is home. They are made up of murderers and robbers, thieves and prostitutes, and no doubt a few wrongly convicted. Most are serving life sentences, all are serving hard time and few have reason to believe they will never truly be free. Our ‘stars’ are the downtrodden, society’s rejects; the very men and women to whom Christ would have preached. The actor/inmate’s stories and Christ’s story weave together to tell the most powerful tale of redemption and forgiveness ever written. Their personal journeys provide a brightly illuminated mirror for all people, regardless of faith, race or religion. It took two years of daily rehearsals to pull off this feat, a long time by theater standards, but not by the standards of Angola. In this prison, once considered the bloodiest in the US, the average sentence is 93 years. Since taking the helm, in 1995, Warden Burl Cain has made it his mission to bring light to Angola and hope to its inhabitants. Rather than torture and torment, he chose moral rehabilitation to guide his administration. In the spirit with which Warden Cain runs Angola, he permitted the female roles to be played by women from LCIW. For the actors and actresses, it was the first time in decades that they had been permitted to spend time with members of the opposite sex. The energy generated in this rare encounter contributed to the intensity of the performances. Amongst this extraordinary group of men and women are Christians and Muslims, believers and agnostics, those of deep faith and those with none at all. Yet, regardless of their background, the wisdom in the teachings served to guide each of them on their own personal path of redemption. The burden of sin weighs heavy in our film, but the teachings of our story are as powerful today as they were 2,000 years ago: serve to enlighten and inspire people everywhere. In a place with little hope of freedom, where 95% of the men who enter the gates perish, the story of a man who sacrifices his life to save the wretched of the Earth resonates...

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