Press Release

Justice on Trial Film Festival to feature 12 social justice films, guest appearances from Jennifer Siebel Newsom, David Arquette, authors asha bandele & Donna Hylton


“Building Justice,” a film by Ultan Guilfoyle about architect Frank Gehry’s work with students studying the inhumanity of prison design, will also make its world premiere at the film festival.

LOS ANGELES (September 10, 2018) — Now in its sixth year, the Justice on Trial Film Festival, hosted by A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project (ANWOL), is putting justice- impacted people and their stories at the forefront for two days of films and talks at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, on September 29 and 30.

This year’s schedule features 12 full length and short films, including Rikers: An American Jail, Survivors Guide to Prison, Let My People Vote, The Bail Trap: An American Ransom, Returning Citizens and Building Justice, which follows architect Frank Gehry’s exploration of prison design with Yale and SCI-Arc architecture students, A New Way of Life, and Impact Justice.

Filmmakers will be on hand after each screening to answer questions in short Q&A sessions.

In addition to films, the agenda includes a lineup of panels and speakers. Saturday afternoon’s Women’s Power Panel will feature ANWOL co-director Tiffany Johnson, whose animated short, “The Real Background Check,” kicks off the festival; poet, activist and When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir co-author asha bandele; and Donna Hylton, activist and author of A Little Piece of Light. Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the second lady of California and founder of the Representation Project, will also give remarks at 12:45 pm on Sunday afternoon. Other guests and panelists include producer David Arquette (Survivors Guide to Prison); Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas; Craig Webb, partner at the architectural firm Gehry Partners; and Leonard Noisette, Justice Team director at Open Society Foundations.

Non-film events at the festival include a solitary confinement virtual reality experience, available throughout the morning and early afternoon on Saturday, and a “living library” on Sunday, where festival goers can sit down with formerly incarcerated women and their children and talk to them about their experiences.

The Justice on Trial Film Festival originally grew out of a conversation between ANWOL founder Susan Burton and The New Jim Crow author Michelle Alexander in 2013. It creates a platform for the stories of those impacted by mass incarceration — narratives that often go unheard or are distorted by stereotypes.

“The Justice on Trial Film Festival is an important event because it allows filmmakers to showcase their films in a community that has experienced and understands the problems and solutions to public safety and criminal justice reform,” Burton says. “This is our sixth year, and I feel really fortunate and blessed for the film festival to be an integral part of A New Way of Life’s programming.”

To purchase tickets ($25 general admission, $10 students with ID) or to view a complete list of films and a full schedule of events, please visit


About A New Way of Life

In 1998, Susan Burton founded A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project (ANWOL) to help women, families, and communities break the cycle and heal from the formidable experiences of incarceration. ANWOL advances multi-dimensional solutions to the effects of incarceration, including (1) providing housing and support to formerly incarcerated women for successful community re-entry, family reunification, and individual healing; (2) working to restore the civil rights of formerly incarcerated people; and (3) empowering, organizing, and mobilizing formerly incarcerated people as advocates for social change and personal transformation.

A New Way of Life envisions a world where every person can make decisions for his/her own life, is accountable for those decisions, and is valued as a contributing member of the community. ANWOL has been a driving force in considerable policy reforms, including the ban-the-box ordinances and the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act (Proposition 47), a historic measure to reverse decades of antiquated approaches to community safety and justice, properly redirecting costly prison construction and management resources to education, re-entry, and victims’ services.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter