by Mary Sampson
Xachery Irving’s documentary “American Chain Gang” has completed post
production and will be shown to a number of distribution channels in the
next couple of months. The 16mm feature length film documents the
experiences of the men and women of the recently revived chain gang
prison programs and examines the historical, moral, and political impact
of this policy.
During the shoot, which takes place in an Arizona jail and an Alabama
prison, Irving’s crew witnessed a prison riot, got death threats by
camera-phobic inmates, and found themselves left inside the prison with
no protection during a shift change by the guards.
The budget (obtained by personal credit card maxing, in-kind services
via a Roy Dean grant and the generosity of vendors and facilities) came
in at around $230,000. Post production services were provided by Digital
Media of Oregon which provides all the post for four films each year as
part of their AVID Feature Film Camp.
Irving has appointments to show the film to HBO, The Learning Channel,
Channel 4 UK, and a number of theatrical distribution companies. He
plans to start the festival circuit with a submission to the Sundance
[More information about “American Chain Gang” can be obtained by
contacting Irving at 212.737.5012. For more on Digital Media’s Avid
Feature Film Camp, hit the website @