5:30-7:00 PM: Screening of film “The Mind of Mark DeFriest” (92 minutes)
7:00-8:00 PM: Panel discussion, featuring Gabriel London, the film’s director
FILM SYNOPSIS: Once known as Houdini for his multiple and improbable jailbreaks, Mark DeFriest was condemned to Florida’s worst prison after a lone psychiatrist in a minority opinion declared that he was faking mental illness. When this legendary escape artist comes up for parole after more than 30 years behind bars, including 26 in solitary confinement, Mark’s remaining supporters forge an unlikely alliance to argue for his freedom. Along the way, they uncover lingering questions about whether Mark should have even been sent to prison, yet face the daunting task of explaining why a notorious troublemaker deserves to go free.
PANEL DISCUSSION: How does storytelling in the criminal justice context affect social change? Filmmaker Gabriel London, director of The Mind of Mark DeFriest (SHOWTIME), will screen his film and participate in a panel discussion about the specifics of Mark DeFriest’s remarkable journey through the Florida prison system and the film’s impact on larger aspects of justice reform. Adam Strom of Facing History and Ourselves will moderate the panel, which includes Professor Carol Steiker and Filmmaker and Lecturer on Law Rebecca Richman Cohen.