It’s rare to see a film being produced in Hollywood with an A-List star actor like Susan Sarandon involved, with no special effects and a relatively small budget for a feature movie. The documentary “A Survivor’s Guide To Prison” is being crowd funded by Oscar nominated producer Matthew Cooke, who is also the Director of this film which cuts against that grain.
Cooke is crowd funding his latest movie on Indiegogo to obtain crowd raise money, audience investment emotionally into the film, and further raise awareness of social problems caused by not only having more people in prisons than universities in America today, but the broader issue of “correctional control” of over 8,000,000 Americans including those on probation.
He’s also releasing a series of videos onto his Facebook page, one of which called “Race Baiting 101” caught our attention earlier this month on it’s way to having over 3,000,000 plays today, and is at the bottom of this article.
Don’t Rush to Put Matthew Cooke onto a Pedestal Today
Cooke grew up in suburban Chicago and attended a liberal arts college, didn’t become and drama kid, and when he was 40 still had to borrow some cash from his mother to buy a camera, because the price of renting gear was too high.
After writing a screenplay that caught major attention, but wasn’t produced, Cooke became a solid a professional screenwriter in Hollywood. But commercial “success” can often turn out to be the soul crushing failure which aspiring auteurs seek to avoid.
In 2006, with help from mom, Cooke produced and edited “Deliver Us From Evil” documenting the Catholic Church’s international pedophilia problem through the lens of Priest Oliver O’Grady. It won the Los Angeles Film festival, but watched an “Inconvenient Truth” take the Oscar in 2006 for best documentary in a close call.
With that film, Cooke found his voice, and eventually followed it with other work for HBO and the widely acclaimed film “How to Make Money Selling Drugs.”
Now Cooke is posting his short films onto Survivor’s Guide to America about a variety of topics, the most recent of which is on Vimeo entitled “How to Survive Prison Torture” which reflects upon the unspeakable horrors happening daily in our so called Correctional System.
PINAC readers may remember Carlos Miller’s close call recording near a prison in Baltimore earlier this summer, and further research showed that it was a de-commissioned “Super Max” detention center. That’s the kind of prison where 23 hours a day of solitude and 1 hour of “recreation” is mandated for prisoners considered of the highest risk.
While admittedly some prisoners are very dangerous and in need of special handling, the imposition of solitude for 23 hours a day is also guaranteed to destroy what is left of those individuals – not all of whom are incarcerated for themselves perpetuating violent crime.
America needs an auteur like Matthew Cooke to illuminate what an ugly thing has become of the prison-industrial complex we created to support the Drug War against US Citizens to bring freedom to the land of the free and home of the brave.
Ed Note: This article has been corrected for grammar. Thank you readers =)