The feature documentary “Rock and a Hard Place,” an unprecedented look inside a youth prison boot camp, produced for HBO by Dwayne Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions, will debut in May, exclusively on HBO.
The film captures the lives of incarcerated young people who are granted a second chance: the opportunity to trade an extensive prison sentence for a fresh start by completing the famed Miami-Dade County Corrections & Rehabilitation Boot Camp Program. This one-of-a-kind program reports a recidivism rate close to 9%, while the national rate of prison recidivism is approximately 70%. The harrowing film chronicles a harsh, uncompromising six-month program in which drill sergeants push inmates to their limit, encouraging them to learn from their past mistakes and become constructive members of society who are substantially less likely to return to prison.
“Rock and a Hard Place” was inspired by Johnson’s own experiences with the law as a youth. He appears in the documentary, which he produced alongside Dany Garcia, producing partner and co-founder of Seven Bucks Productions, Rasha Drachkovitch of 44 Blue Productions and filmmakers Matthew O’Neill and Jon Alpert, who also directed the feature. Johnson visits the facility where the boot camp is conducted to speak with a new group of young offenders who are on the brink of serving lengthy prison terms, and to observe their shocking introduction into camp. Once the mayhem has subsided, he addresses the young men to explain why he wants the world to see this program and emphasizes why he believes this may be their last chance.
“Rock and a Hard Place” is a passion project for Johnson, who calls it one of the most important films he’s been associated with. “By the time I was 16, I had been arrested eight or nine times for a variety of things, and can relate to what these kids are going through,” he says. Dany Garcia adds, “Miami-Dade is making a difference and truly changing lives in the process of all their hard work. That is why we wanted to make a film about it.”
Drachkovitch, president of 44 Blue Productions observes, “Something remarkable is happening behind the scenes of this program – we’re going to find out exactly what that is.”
“Rock and a Hard Place” marks the second collaboration between HBO and Seven Bucks Productions, following the hit series “Ballers,” which began production on season two at the end of 2015. The documentary is one of many projects produced jointly by Seven Bucks (TNT’s “Wake Up Call”), and 44 Blue Productions (MSNBC’s “Lockup,” Animal Planet’s “Pit Bulls & Parolees”). Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia are executive producers for Seven Bucks Productions; Rasha Drachkovitch is executive producer for 44 Blue Productions. For HBO: Jacqueline Glover is supervising producer and Sheila Nevins is executive producer.