The Work

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    The Work

    Directed by

    • Gethin Aldous, Jairus McLeary, Gethin Aldous

    USA

    2017

    87 min

    • English

    Documentary

    Set inside a single room in Folsom Prison, THE WORK follows three men from outside as they participate in a four-day group therapy retreat with level-four convicts. Over the four days, each man in the room takes his turn at delving deep into his past. The raw and revealing process that the incarcerated men undertake exceeds the expectations of the free men, ripping them out of their comfort zones and forcing them to see themselves and the prisoners in unexpected ways. THE WORK offers a powerful and rare look past the cinder block walls, steel doors and the dehumanizing tropes in our culture to reveal a movement of change and redemption that transcends what we think of as rehabilitation.

    Awards

    • Grand Jury Award - SXSW
    • Grand Jury Special Mention, Audience Award - Sheffield Doc/Fest
    • Best Documentary - Wroclaw AFF

    Festivals

    Credits

    Cinematography
    Arturo Santamaria
    Editing
    Amy Foote
    Production
    BLANKETFORT MEDIA
    Production
    MCLEARY BROTHERS
    Sales
    DOGWOOF

    Press

    Say what you will about prison’s capacity to reform, but this documentary makes clear that in its own special way, the “work” is working.

    Peter Debruge, Variety

    The minimalist scenario, almost exclusively set within the confines of a nondescript room, foregrounds the visceral process of confronting anger and regret through a fascinating collaborative approach, with results that are alternately terrifying and cathartic.

    Eric Kohn, Indie Wire

    The most powerful group therapy session ever caught on camera.

    Eric Kohn, Indie Wire

    A remarkable piece of reportage.

    Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter

    Remarkable vérité portrait.

    Peter Debruge, Variety

    A harrowing and enlightening experience.

    Selina Chignall, Real Screen

    Fascinating.

    Nick Allen, Roger Ebert

    Jairus McLeary

    Jairus McLeary

    USA

    Jairus McLeary is a Legal Videographer from Chicago who began with shooting video ethnography in college; subjects in their natural setting, in order to experience, interpret, and represent culture and society. The experience motivated him to make his first film, THE WORK after years of participation inside Folsom’s Circles, co-directed with Gethin Aldous. It was screened at SXSW (where it won the Grand Jury Award), Seattle IFF, Sheffield Doc Fest and many others.