JUVENILE explores how brain science, constitutional rights, and smart on crime economics are disrupting the cradle to prison pipeline.
Anchored by the personal stories of five young people across the country, this film delves deep into their experiences growing up in Los Angeles, Memphis, rural Missouri, Atlanta, and Brooklyn. Each was pulled into the system from different pipelines: foster care, schools, mental illness, street survival, homelessness. Each had their narratives of trauma and victimization turn into narratives of offense and punishment.
To connect the dots between each story, professionals (who also have lived experience as survivors, victims, youthful offenders, or family members) provide the national context for how Brittany, Romeo, Michael, Robert, and Iliana were able to survive the system. Now in their early 20s, dealing with the repercussions of their system-involvement as they navigate their lives, each has found ways to work for change – so others don’t have to go through what they did. Ultimately, JUVENILE reveals the trauma, healing, and hope inherent in all communities that strive for justice.
Co-directors Sarah Fleming and Joann Self Selvidge are both award-winning filmmakers, each with 15+ years of experience as producers and directors. Fleming also works as director of photography and assistant director, and Selvidge as editor and music supervisor. Together, they have credits on more than 80 short and feature documentaries, narratives, music videos, and experimental pieces. In addition to being co-founders of Memphis Women in Film, they previously collaborated on two award-winning short docs about criminal justice issues, VIOLA (2015) and VOICES OF JERICHO (2007). Selvidge’s feature documentary, SEE THE KEEPERS (2016), a portrait of the work and personality of zookeepers, is nationally distributed by Virgil Films and included in Reel South: Season 3, currently streaming on WORLD Channel and PBS stations across the country. Fleming was producer and director of photography on the award-winning feature documentary GOOD GRIEF (2017). JUVENILE will be Fleming’s first feature as director.