Filmmaker Sarah Poindexter had a chance to attend a special advance screening of the new documentary SERVING LIFE (premieres Thurs., July 28, 9PM ET on OWN) in Los Angeles.  Executive Producer Forest Whitakaer was in attendance.  Here is what she had to share:

“Serving Life” screened Monday night at The Paley center in Beverly Hills.  The feature film is a heart wrenching, profound documentary about hospice care offered in Angola, a Louisiana State prison.  The film follows four men serving life terms as they apply, get accepted, are trained and ultimately care for the ever-growing dying population in the prison run hospice care program.  Angola, infamous for it’s inmate on inmate violent crimes and for the high percentage of inmates who are serving life sentences for murder is an unique setting for a story about redemption. While the film does make mention of the crimes each of the men have committed, the focus is on their current humanity and the incredible courage, care and compassion it takes to care for the sick and dying. Forrest Whittaker, who is one of the film’s Executive Producer’s and its narrator said, “I got involved with the project after watching a short sizzle real the producer put together and felt instantly that I wanted to be involved.”  Last nights audience seemed deeply moved by the film, which left many people in tears.  During the question and answer following the film for which Forrest Whittaker and two of the films other producers were present, one woman remarked, “I work in the penitentiary system and had forgotten the inmates are human. Thank you for reminding me.” The documentary will air on The Oprah Winfrey Network as part of the OWN Documentary Club.  Over 1400 hundred films were submitted to be aired for this season but only 13 were chosen. Serving Life made the cut and will have its debut this Thursday.


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