When I was 17 I shot a guy who was trying to rob me. I served 8 years in prison, and have now been out for 10 years. I have been working with The US Attorney (DOJ/ Federal Prosecutor) to make a documentary ("Pull of Gravity") about re-entry and re...
EDIT: Thank you all so much for this incredible opportunity to share my experience with you. Your questions were great, inspiring, and moving. I hope that you will take the time to look at our website, stay abreast of the life of the project, and share it with others. We are open to all inquiries for screenings, collaboration or any support. If there is demand for another AMA I would be more than happy to do one in a few weeks. Please see the info below for how to connect with myself and with the film. Thank you so much. -El
on twitter www.twitter.com/pullofgravfilm
on facebook: www.facebook.com/pullofgravityfilm
My name is El Sawyer. I was sentenced to 8-20 years for a shooting when I was 17. I served 8 years in SCI Graterford, Pennsylvania's largest maximum security prison. While I was incarcerated I had the chance to learn film/video production. When I came home from prison I dedicated myself to community service and video production, and am now a director of a community arts non-profit in Philly called The Village of Arts and Humanities (www.villagearts.org)
Re-entry and recidivism is a huge issue, and through my own struggles with returning to society, I felt the need to create a film about the topic to shed light on some of these issues. The film is called Pull of Gravity (www.pullofgravityfilm.com) and follows three men (I'm one of them) in different stages of reintegration. The US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of PA reached out to me three years ago to lead classes for at-risk youth using video as a violence prevention tool. From the success of those classes they have put their full support behind the film.
Trailer for the film: https://vimeo.com/57340780
I'm happy to talk about what led me to prison, being in prison, the filmmaking process, etc etc.
Ask me anything.
EDIT: The guy I shot did NOT die. He lived and testified against me in court.
Video interview from Phila. Inquirer about the film: (http://www.philly.com/philly/video/BC2125099929001.html)