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BELLY OF THE BEAST Documentary Out Oct. 16

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Watch a new trailer here!

BELLY OF THE BEAST Documentary Out Oct. 16


When an unlikely duo discovers a pattern of illegal sterilizations in women's prisons, they wage a near impossible battle against the Department of Corrections. Filmed over seven years with extraordinary access and intimate accounts from currently and formerly incarcerated people, the documentary feature BELLY OF THE BEAST exposes modern-day eugenics and reproductive injustice in California prisons.


Directed by Emmy and Peabody award-winning filmmaker Erika Cohn (The Judge and In Football We Trust), BELLY OF THE BEAST will have its theatrical release starting Friday, October 16, 2020 at theaters across the U.S. including Los Angeles (Laemmle Theaters), San Francisco (The Roxie and Smith Rafael Film Center), New York, and more.

The film's trailer, released today, features the original song 'See What You've Done' written and performed by Mary J. Blige, the nine-time Grammy winner and two-time Oscar nominated singer-songwriter.

The news of the film's release, trailer, and awards submissions was first reported this morning by Variety's new film awards editor Clayton Davis.

The film had its world premiere as the Opening Night Film at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in June. This fall, it will screen at the Mill Valley Film Festival in the San Francisco Bay Area, Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival in Washington, DC, and Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. It will have its national television debut on the award-winning PBS television series INDEPENDENT LENS on Monday, November 23.

The pastoral farmlands surrounding the Central California Women's Facility, the world's largest women's prison, help conceal the reproductive and human rights violations transpiring inside its walls. A courageous woman who was involuntarily sterilized at the facility, teams up with a radical lawyer to stop these violations. They spearhead investigations that uncover a series of statewide crimes, primarily targeting women of color, from inadequate access to healthcare to sexual assault to illegal sterilization. Together, with a team of tenacious heroines, both in and out of prison, they take to the courtroom to fight for reparations. But no one believes them.

As additional damning evidence is uncovered by the Center for Investigative Reporting, a media frenzy and series of hearings provide hope for some semblance of justice. Yet, doctors and prison officials contend that the procedures were in each person's best interest and of an overall social benefit. Invoking the weight of the historic stain and legacy of eugenics, BELLY OF THE BEAST presents a decade long, infuriating contemporary legal drama.

BELLY OF THE BEAST is directed and produced by Erika Cohn, produced by Angela Tucker, Christen Marquez, Nicole Docta, executive produced by Geralyn Dreyfous, Blye Faust, Mark Lipson, Patty Quillin, Doree Friedman, Diane Philips, Lois Vossen, and Sally Jo Fifer, and music supervised by Tracy McKnight.

Cohn is a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning director/producer who Variety recognized as one of 2017's top documentary filmmakers to watch and was featured in DOC NYC's 2019 "40 Under 40." Her award-winning films have debuted at top international film festivals including Toronto International Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival.

Watch the trailer here:


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