Watch On-Demand: College Behind Bars

Watch On-Demand: College Behind Bars

Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) students conjugate Spanish verbs at Eastern New York Correctional Facility.

Credit: Courtesy of Skiff Mountain Films

Watch On-Demand: A four-part documentary film series that tells the story of a small group of incarcerated men and women struggling to earn college degrees.

Alfred I. duPont-Columbia and Peabody-Award winning filmmaker Lynn Novick has directed and produced a new documentary series, College Behind Bars, that reveals the transformative power of higher education through the experiences of incarcerated men and women.

Part 1: No One Ever Taught Me That

 Part 2: I'm Trying to Get Home to My Family Too

Part 3: Every Single Word Matters

Part 4: Home is a Work In Progress

Series Website

College Behind Bars marks a new path for Novick, who is best known for history films directed with Ken Burns. The four-hour series, distilled from nearly 400 hours of cinéma-vérité footage, explores the lives of a dozen incarcerated men and women as they struggle to earn degrees in the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI), one of the most rigorous and effective prison education programs in the country.

The four-part film, broadcast over two consecutive nights in November, unfolds without narration through an intimate look at the lives, experiences and words of incarcerated men and women and their families. Working with renowned cinematographers Buddy Squires, ASC, and Nadia Hallgren, Novick and producer Botstein received unprecedented access to film for four years inside maximum and medium security prisons in New York State. The film, edited by Tricia Reidy, ACE, takes viewers on a stark and emotionally intense journey into one of the most pressing issues of our time – our failure to provide meaningful rehabilitation for the millions of Americans living behind bars. Executive produced by Ken Burns, College Behind Bars is Novick’s solo directorial debut.