A screening room for programming about media arts, activism, and mediated experience


Brett Story

A film program about the hidden geographies of the contemporary prison-industrial complex

Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Health / Sustainability
  • Politics / Economics
  • Social Justice

Organizing Institutions

Slought, The Reentry Think Tank


Gwynne Fulton, Fred Schmidt-Arenales, and students in the Department of History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Slought is pleased to announce The Prison in Twelve Landscapes, a film program about the hidden geographies of the contemporary prison-industrial complex, on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 from 6:30-8:30pm in the Mediatheque. The program, organized with students in the Department of History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania and co-presented with the Reentry Think Tank, will begin with a screening of the film, followed by a discussion with director Brett Story, Reentry Think Tank fellow Jym Baker, and Toorjo (TJ) Ghose, a scholar of mass incarceration and social work.

In the United States there are more than two million people in prison, up from only 300,000 forty years ago. Yet prisons have never felt more far away or more out of sight. Prisons exist primarily out of sight: not only are they frequently constructed away from population centers, but journalists, filmmakers and researchers are increasingly denied access to the world inside their walls. The Prison in Twelve Landscapes harnesses the power of cinema in order to highlight the invisible presence of the prison. The film pinpoints moments, spaces, and individuals which reveal how deeply the prison industrial complex is braided into the relationships, economies and landscapes all around us.

From a California mountainside where female prisoners fight the region's raging wildfires, to a congregation of formerly incarcerated chess players in Manhattan who spent their time behind bars mastering the game, to an Appalachian coal town betting its future on the promise of prison jobs — the film stages scenes where prisons do work and affect lives. Moreover, it poses new questions about the necessity and desirability of that work. When we start to examine the prison system through spaces that are not prisons, we begin to see how much more entangled it is with jobs, with resource extraction, with economic development, with race and with poverty than it is with crime.

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Brett Story is a writer and independent non-fiction filmmaker based out of Toronto and New York. Her first feature-length film, the award-winning Land of Destiny (2010), screened internationally. Her journalism and film criticism have appeared in such outlets as CBC Radio, the Nation Magazine, and the Toronto Review of Books. She was the recipient of the Documentary Organization of Canada Institute's 2014 New Visions Award, is an alumna of the Berlinale Talents Doc Station (2014) and was a nominee for the 2015 Ontario Premier's Awards for Excellence in the Arts.

TJ Ghose's work focuses on structural interventions in the areas of incarceration, substance use, homelessness and HIV. He is currently collaborating with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, The World Bank, and the UN on initiatives to end AIDS, addressing social drivers of risk in marginalized communities. Ghose has served as Chair of the MSW governance committee and the Racism and Social Change sequence at Penn.

Jym Baker is an artist, advocate mentor, talk show radio host, and a professional listener. He is currently pursuing a degree in social work at the Community College of Philadelphia through their PACE program and will be starting at West Chester University in spring 2018. He is a mentor at the Carceral Community Center and has been a fellow at the Reentry Think Tank since fall of 2016.


Brett Story
The Prison in Twelve Landscapes
2016, 90 min