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Trailer Debut: Cinque Northern’s Angola Do You Hear Us? Voices From A Plantation Prison

Filmmaker is pleased to share the trailer debut of Cinque Northern’s short film Angola Do You Hear Us? Voices From A Plantation Prison, distributed by MTV Documentary Films. The documentary follows playwright Liza Jessie Peterson’s journey to bring her one-woman show The Peculiar Patriot to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. Peterson’s interest in this prison, specifically, comes from its history as a pre-Civil War plantation (originally named “Angola” after the African country that many of its enslaved inhabitants were violently taken from) before it was bought by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections in 1901. It is the largest “prison plantation” in the country, the sixth largest overall in a bloated, abusive carceral system.

While Peterson was initially granted permission to stage her play for inmates at the prison, it was nonetheless ordered to shut down mid-performance. She recounts the experience for Northern, who rounds out the testimony with animated reenactments, stunning shots of the unsettling Angola grounds and audio interviews with prisoners who witnessed (and were deeply moved by) this rendition of The Peculiar Patriot. “I was in the presence of a whole bunch of sleeping giants,” Peterson says in the trailer. “And I said, ‘Oh, they’re awake now.'”

Northern was featured on our 25 New Faces of Film list back in the year 2000, and Lauren Wissot spoke to the director ahead of the screening of Angola Do You Hear Us? at Telluride a few weeks back. During that interview, Northern said of the project:

“I believe part of the strength of this film comes from the fact that it was not planned. I went to Angola with the idea of making a more biographical film about Liza. But when the men responded with such passion, and the administration shut down the play, it seemed clear that I could tell a story about what happened that day in that room—with Liza’s personal journey as the B storyline.”

Angola Do You Hear Us? Voices From A Plantation Prison will be released digitally via Paramount+ later this fall.

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