THE NEW SENTENCE, 2010-Ongoing
Video excerpt 1:35 min

The New Sentence is a film that came out of a simple question: who makes this?

After years of researching state, federal, public, and the private prison industries, I finally found my answer and, not surprisingly, a lot more questions: how does this work? Who are these people? Where does the money come from?

This is a story where connecting the dots, in this case travel agents, Nascar, self-help, the reading habits of women prisoners, Franz Mesmer, and poetry collide in discrete vignettes. Although The New Sentence has already beaten David Lynch’s film Eraserhead for the time it is taking to make, I suspect (and pray) that it will be worth it in the end.  

thank you to cast,  crew, and supporters


  • Altorro Black
  • Amanda Poole
  • Beverly Shannon
  • Chaz Riddle
  • Dani Leventhal
  • Elizabeth Crane
  • Hollyn Braxton
  • Jeannine Cooper
  • Jeff McGrath
  • Jennifer Goebel
  • Kristen Barba
  • Matt Gulbranson
  • Megan Elcrat
  • Melinda Hull
  • Melody Walker
  • Rebekka Sautter
  • Sherri Cohen
  • Stephanie Markley
  • Zaneta Johnson


John Thompson
Peggy Ahwesh
Jeremy Hoevenaar
Dani Leventhal
Kristin Lucas
David Angerhofer
Leslie Furlong
Eamon Espey
Melinda Hull
Rebekka Sautter



Deirtra Thompson

Director of Photography
Michael O’Leary

Documentary Camera
Dani Leventhal ReStack

Assistant Director
Maboud Ebrahimzadeh

1st Assistant Camera
Kathy Gallo  

Ryan Gallo  

Key Grip
Jason Shinsato 

Scott Russel

Set Dresser
Daniel Capiro

Justin Harrison 

 On Set Editor
Nick Kovacic

Hair and Makeup
Rebekka Sautter

Art Dept. Coordinators
Leslie Furlong
Ashley Compton

“Help Us Defeat Him” Drawing by
Eamon Espey

Liz Durette

Production Assistance
David Sloan 

Set Photographer
Jenny Ferretti

This project was made possible by the support of the John H. Johnson Film Award, the Princess Grace Foundation, and the Experimental Television Center. I am eternally grateful to Peggy Ahwesh, ETC, the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, and to the Johnson estate.

To find out more about Mr. Johnson’s legacy and his contribution to the arts, please visit the cultural institution he founded, Ebony Magazine.

Photo Credit: David Jackson/Johnson Publishing Archive