Prison Songs

Genre: Documentaries

Duration: 1 x 60’

Year of Production: 2014

Production Company: Beyond West and Spear Point Productions with assistance from ScreenWest, Lotterywest, Screen Australia and SBS Australia

Commissioned By: SBS Australia

Definition: HD

In Australia’s tropical Northern Territory over 800 inmates squeeze into the overcrowded Berrimah Prison. Berrimah is filled mainly with Aboriginal inmates, who battle the dirt, rats, mosquitoes and unbearable heat. Many come from remote communities where English isn’t their first language and their traditional lore is in conflict with European rule of law. This thoughtful documentary musical gives a voice to these normally overlooked Australian citizens, tapping into their culture that uses song and dance to communicate. Working with award-winning songwriters Casey Bennetto and Shellie Morris, inmates have their stories interpreted into songs. Their personal tales mesh together to create a portrait of life in a society with one of the highest incarceration rates in the world.

Winner (2015): Best Direction in a Documentary, Australian Director’s Guild Awards

Winner (2015): Humanitarian and Investigation Category, Rockie Award, Banff World Media Congress

Winner (2015): Best TV Production – Factual, WA Screen Awards