Film and discussion to explore prison life and aftermath for four friends

“The Cooler Bandits” will screen at the Whitney Humanities Center, followed by a Q&A with the documentary’s director and cast, on Tuesday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m.

From 2006 to 2013, director John Lucas followed the journeys of four men in prison and made a documentary film, “The Cooler Bandits,” about them.

Following a campus screening of “The Cooler Bandits,” Lucas and members of the film’s cast will take part in a Q&A about the film and the men’s journeys. The screening and discussion will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. in the Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall St. It is free and open to the public.

The Cooler Bandits” documents the men — Charlie Kelly, Donovan Harris, Richard “Poochie” Roderick, and Frankie Porter — in their respective stages of incarceration as they fight to maintain relationships with family and friends and later to reintegrate into society after spending their adult lives in prison. The four friends hope for the chance to lead productive and meaningful lives.

Michelle Alexander, author of the bestselling book “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” says of the film: “‘The Cooler Bandits’ is a critically important documentary exploring the complex lives of inner city black men who struggle to negotiate our criminal injustice system. This film is about the devastating, human dimension — the real people whose lives are at stake and whose fates are so casually disregarded.”

The film screening and talk are sponsored by the Film & Media Studies Program, the Urban Ethnography Project, the African American Studies Department, Films at the Whitney (supported by the Barbakow Fund for Innovative Film Program at Yale), and others.

To learn more about the documentary, visit the film website.

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