BELLY OF THE BEAST Director, Erika Cohn, Talks Eugenics & The Sterilization of Women Prisoners on Tom Needham's SOUNDS OF FILM

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Emmy Award-winning director/producer, Erika Cohn, joins Tom Needham for a shocking conversation about BELLY OF THE BEAST, a film about the mass sterilization of women of color in California's prison system on this Thursday's SOUNDS OF FILM.


When a courageous young woman and a radical lawyer discover a pattern of illegal involuntary sterilizations in California's women's prison system, they take to the courtroom to wage a near-impossible battle against the Department of Corrections. With a growing team of investigators inside prison working with colleagues on the outside, they uncover a series of statewide crimes - from dangerously inadequate health care to sexual assault to coercive sterilizations - primarily targeting women of color. But no one believes them. This shocking legal drama captured over seven years features extraordinary access and intimate accounts from currently and formerly incarcerated women, demanding our attention to a shameful and ongoing legacy of eugenics and reproductive injustice in the United States.

Erika 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." Most recently, Erika completed THE JUDGE, a Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated film about the first woman judge appointed to the Middle East's Shari'a courts, which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS' 2018 INDEPENDENT LENS series. Her work has been supported by IFP, the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Institute, Hot Docs, Sheffield, ITVS, Women in Film, BAVC and the CPB Producer's Academy among others.
The film is currently is available for viewing at the Human Rights Watch Digital Film Festival until June 20th. People can view the recording of the Q&A with filmmaker Erika Cohn, Producer Angela Tucker, HRW's Women's Rights Acting Co-Director Amanda Klasing & film participants Kelli Dillon & Cynthia Chandler at https://www.hrwfilmfestivalstream.org/

Tom Needham's SOUNDS OF FILM is the nation's longest running film and music themed radio show. For the past 30 years, the program has delivered a popular mix of interviews and music to listeners all over Long Island, parts of Connecticut and streaming live worldwide on the internet. Past people interviewed for the show include Kenneth Lonergan, Mike Leigh, Wallace Shawn, William H. Macy, Peter Yarrow, Melanie, Dionne Warwick, and Don McLean.


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