7pm – Free Event
email to rsvp for childcare – writealetta(at)gmail.com
Women are the fastest growing U.S. prison population today. Eighty percent are mothers of school-age children. Jenifer McShane’s absorbing documentary gives human dimensions to these rarely reported statistics, taking us inside Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison north of New York City.
MOTHERS OF BEDFORD follows five women of diverse backgrounds and incarcerated for different reasons in dual struggles to be engaged in their children’s lives and become their better selves. It shows how long-term sentences affect mother-child relationships and how Bedford’s innovative Children’s Center helps women maintain and improve bonds with children and adult relatives awaiting their return.
Filmmaker, Jenifer McShane, spent five years interviewing and visiting these women inside prison and the families awaiting their return. MOTHERS OF BEDFORD premiered at HOT DOCS 2011 and has screened at Lincoln Center and many other festivals andindependent theaters in the US.
Five Women, Five Stories: The people we follow in MOTHERS OF BEDFORD were sent to Bedford Hills Correctional Facility – all for different reasons. They have one thing in common: they are all mothers.
Melissa arrived at Bedford Hills pregnant. In her own words she “had lost everything but her own life” before landing in prison. We first meet Melissa and her daughter, Emma, in the cell they share when Emma is eight months old and revisit them until both are released from Bedford Hills when Emma is sixteen months old.
Tanika When Tanika was arrested one of her sons was in first grade and the other in preschool. The boys are being raised by Tanika’s parents in a rough section of Schenectady. They are desperate to keep the boys out of trouble in a neighborhood that just keeps getting worse. Tanika Dickson is the only woman featured in MOTHERS OF BEDFORD who remains incarcerated at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. She is currently preparing her application for parole.
Mona High on angel dust at the time, Mona has no memory of riding as a passenger in a car involved in a hit and run. She awoke shackled to a hospital bed implicated in a crime she couldn’t recall. Nineteen at the time, she refused a plea deal because she felt five years seemed “like a lifetime away” from her two small children. She went to trial and was given a sentence of twenty to life. Mona was released in 2011, twenty-four years after being arrested. She attends many of the MOTHERS OF BEDFORD screenings to participate in the Q&A sessions with director, Jenifer McShane.
Rosa An employed mother of two when she was arrested, Rosa works in the baby nursery inside Bedford. She has a close relationship with her two sons, Jacob and Joey. Joey is entering adolescence and Rosa is learning to adapt to her son’s growing awareness of why she is in prison and the fact that he “must move on with his life”.
Anneathia’s story has a generational component. We explore Anneathia’s relationship with her own mother Luecrezy, a recovering addict, as well as her ties to her own two daughters. During the film Anneathia and her mother mend broken trust and team up to get Anneathia’s two girls back in Luecrezy’s, care.