The truth is always stranger, and scarier, than fiction, and that’s evidenced in the true-life story of Florida prisoner Mark DeFriest. We’ve got the exclusive teaser for the documentary about him, “The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest” from director Gabriel London.
We caught the film at the L.A. Film Fest this summer, and it’s a truly harrowing story, telling the tale of one man inexplicably trapped in the criminal justice system (despite his best escape efforts), confronting those who have kept him there for too long. Our review of the film said, “there’s simply no way to come out of this film feeling that justice exists in any way in this man’s life. It’s a curious, infuriating and haunting tale, and an accomplishment of documentary filmmaking.” While it focuses on just one man’s odyssey, the film is a damning portrait of the entire misbegotten criminal justice system.
This teaser launches in advance of a flurry of screenings of the film leading up to DeFriest’s next parole hearing on November 19th. It will be screening at film festivals and universities in Florida during November, including the Naples International Film Festival and Key West Film Festival. It makes its New York premiere at DOC NYC on November 16th, and will also be screening at the Denver Starz Festival and Lone Star Film Festival. In addition, London and the film’s team have launched a unique participation project for audiences that see the film, asking them to be the judge and vote on whether DeFriest should be granted parole, and encouraging them to take action in other ways as well. The film is a result of a 13-year effort of London’s, and his activism demonstrates the power that a film such as this can have in illuminating this issue.
Check out the teaser trailer below.