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“We Really Wanted to Do His Story Justice”: Director Matt Ruskin | Crown Heights

Crown Heights

During its development, production or eventual distribution, what specific challenge of communication did, or will your film, face? How did you deal with it, or how are you planning to deal with it?

I think the challenge with this film was how do you watch Colin Warner do 20 years in prison? How do you convey who this person is when he’s stripped of everything, and then how do you communicate the inner life he cultivated while in prison?

I really respond to visual storytelling, so rather than plastering the film with voiceover we used a lot of imagery, whether it was flashbacks to childhood memories or just his imagination. It got us into his head and outside of the prison environment. We also emphasized experiences Colin had in prison that gave us some insight into his makeup as a person. This is a guy who spent six additional years in prison out of principle. Every time he came up for parole he was asked to express remorse, but Colin refused to validate his conviction, even if it meant he would die in prison. He’s an extraordinary person who survived two decades of incarceration with his humanity and his dignity intact – we really wanted to do his story justice.

[PREMIERE SCREENING: Monday, January 23 at 9:00pm — Library Center Theatre]

Sundance Responses 2017

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