Some great news for documentary fans: “The Mind of Mark DeFriest,” one of our favorite films from last year’s LA Film Fest, will be released in theaters next month by City Drive Films on March 6th and will air on Showtime March 19th. We’ve got the exclusive full length trailer for the film (we brought you the teaser last fall).
The film traces one man’s inexplicable decades-long journey through the Florida prison system and is a remarkable and artful representation of his life. In our review, we called it “a curious, infuriating and haunting tale, and an accomplishment of documentary filmmaking.” The trailer features incredible animation from Thought Café that brings to life DeFriest’s wild exploits and escapes, as well as interviews with DeFriest and the psychologist whose assessment greatly affected his journey.
The film has been instrumental in bringing awareness to DeFriest’s unjust incarceration. A parole board recently moved up his potential release date some 70 (!!) years, from March 2085 to March 2015 (and per an update today—it’s been officially set for March 10th). There’s no doubt that the film has aided that amazing possible sentence reduction.
Filmmaker Gabriel London has also been on an odyssey with this film, having worked on it for 13 years. We recently spoke with him regarding what the film’s release means for himself and DeFriest. He said “it was endless and frustrating for the greater part of 13 years, peppered with moments of little breakthroughs. The last year has been a blessing, bringing both enthusiastic audiences and tangible change to the story. Until others could recognize it as something special the way I did, it was nothing but a dream.”
While the film has become a tool for fighting corruption in the correctional and judicial systems, London maintains that it’s a creative and entertaining work of art. “I want people to feel more empowered, in that they can see how Mark DeFriest and the thousands, if not millions like him, can be influenced by their actions. But beyond the weight of Mark’s circumstances, I want them to be entertained by his brilliance and sense of humor. Though this movie has come to represent a cause, it is still first and foremost a movie about a man, Mark DeFriest, and I never want people to forget that humanistic pursuit to tell a great, albeit untold story.”
Check out the full-length trailer for “The Mind of Mark DeFriest” below, as well as the poster, and be sure to catch it in theaters starting March 6th or on Showtime March 19th.