BELLY OF THE BEAST
A powerful exposé of human rights abuses of women in the criminal justice system.
Starts October 16
When an unlikely duo discovers a pattern of illegal sterilizations in women’s prisons, they wage a near impossible battle against the Department of Corrections. Filmed over seven years with extraordinary access and intimate accounts from currently and formerly incarcerated people, BELLY OF THE BEAST exposes modern-day eugenics and reproductive injustice in California prisons.
The pastoral farmlands surrounding the Central California Women’s Facility, the world’s largest women’s prison, help conceal the reproductive and human rights violations transpiring inside its walls. A courageous woman who was involuntarily sterilized at the facility, teams up with a radical lawyer to stop these violations. They spearhead investigations that uncover a series of statewide crimes, primarily targeting women of color, from inadequate access to healthcare to sexual assault to illegal sterilization. Together, with a team of tenacious heroines, both in and out of prison, they take to the courtroom to fight for reparations. But no one believes them. As additional damning evidence is uncovered by the Center for Investigative Reporting, a media frenzy and series of hearings provide hope for some semblance of justice. Yet, doctors and prison officials contend that the procedures were in each person’s best interest and of an overall social benefit. Invoking the weight of the historic stain and legacy of eugenics, BELLY OF THE BEAST presents a decade long, infuriating contemporary legal drama.
Directed and produced by Erika Cohn. 2020. 88 mins.
20% of the proceeds from this virtual cinema presentation will benefit CCWP, a grassroots social justice organization, with members inside and outside prison, that challenges the institutional violence imposed on women, transgender people, and communities of color by the prison industrial complex.
Belly of the Beast Q&As
See What You’ve Done: Music for this Moment
Friday, Oct 16th – 5pm PT/8pm ET
Join songwriters DJ Camper and Nova Wav with filmmaker Erika Cohn and film participant Kelli Dillon to discuss the songwriting process, moderated by Variety’s Jazz Tangcay. “See What You’ve Done” (Def Jam Recordings/Universal Music Group), featured in Belly of the Beast, is performed and co-written by Academy Award®-nominated and GRAMMY®-winning artist Mary J. Blige, in collaboration with GRAMMY®-winning record producer and songwriting duo Nova Wav (Denisia Andrews and Brittany Coney) and GRAMMY®-nominated producer/songwriter DJ Camper (Darhyl Camper, Jr.)
Documenting Systemic Abuse: Film Team Talkback
Saturday, Oct 17 – 2pm PT/5pm ET
Dorothy Roberts, professor and author of “Killing the Black Body,” joins filmmaker Erika Cohn, producer Angela Tucker, and film participants Kelli Dillon and Cynthia Chandler. Women and vulnerable communities are speaking out about their experiences with forced sterilization. But it will take justice and collective healing to repair communities from generations of trauma caused by systemic abuse that deprives women of their dignity and freedom. Moderated by David J. Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition.
Not Just ICE: How We Build Across Movements
Sunday, Oct 18 – 12:30 PT/3:30 ET
In August 2020, whistleblower Dawn Wooten, a long-time nurse, reported practices leading to an investigation of a pattern of nonconsensual gynecological procedures, including hysterectomies, performed on detainees at the Irwin federal immigration detention center in Georgia. Introduced by Dr. Angela Davis, law professor and advocate Michele Goodwin, author of Policing the Womb: Invisible Women and the Criminalization of Motherhood, moderates a conversation with ICE whistleblower Dawn Wooten, La’Die Mansfield, Southern Regional Organizer for Project South, Danielle Rodriguez, Georgia Coordinator for Sister Song, filmmaker Erika Cohn and film participant Cynthia Chandler.
Price: $12.00 (50% of proceeds support The Roxie Theater) $10.00 for Roxie Members!
Rental Period: 48 hours.
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