The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest exposes the story of a non-violent offender who has spent 27 years in solitary confinement and is known as the “Houdini of Florida” for his multiple prison escapes. Forced to adapt to life in a 6x9 cell directly above the electric chair, where he could smell the burning flesh of executions, Mark DeFriest’s story shows the brutality of the prison-industrial complex and the resilience of a brilliant mind. Without hope for decades, DeFriest gets a new chance for freedom when the doctor whose diagnosis originally condemned him to prison admits he was wrong.
Director/Producer: Gabriel London
Producer: Daniel J. Chalfen
Executive Producers: Jim Butterworth & David Menschel
"I believe the power of Mark DeFriest’s unique story will be its ability to both entertain audiences and reveal the cruelty of our prison system. In 2001, I made a film about Rodney Hulin, whose tragic story of prison rape spoke for thousands of inmates impacted by the issue and was instrumental in Congress passing the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Similarly, Mark DeFriest’s story speaks to numerous issues surrounding our dysfunctional prison system - from long-term solitary to criminalization of the mentally ill - while compelling a diverse audience with his outsized personality, brutal experiences, and incredible escape artist feats." -- Gabriel London