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It’s a Hard Truth Ain’t It is the first feature film ever co-directed by people incarcerated in a maximum-security prison in America. Thirteen men inside the prison explore the experiences of five of the incarcerated directors, who recount their journeys from their childhoods to the Pendleton Correction Facility. 


An unflinching look at the circumstances and factors that can lead to violence, and the interplay between individual and societal responsibility, the film is groundbreaking in its commitment to letting the people whose stories are being told speak for themselves. Alternating roles in front of and behind the camera, the "making of" Hard Truth is woven into the film itself. 


Through the process of making the film and delving into each other's stories, the group comes to deeper understandings of their past, all while struggling with how to share their individual stories will represent to audiences outside the prison walls – all captured in the film. 


Scenes from their lives are brought to life in stunning detail by animator Yoni Goodman (Waltz with Bashir).


The documentary filmmaking workshop, led by director Madeleine Sackler, occurred during the development of her feature film, O.G. (starring Jeffrey Wright), which was both cast and filmed in the same prison. Some of the directors of Hard Truth are also featured as actors in O.G. Both films will be premiering on HBO on February 23.

Select Interviews and clips​:

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