Morehouse College Human Rights Film Fest

Behind These Walls

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Behind These Walls documents the experience of Sean “Dino” Johnson through his own unsparing words. Born and raised in Queens, New York, Johnson served a 15-year prison sentence for a drug-related charge. His conviction occurred during the national war on drugs, and before New York State began to reform its notorious Rockefeller drug laws. While incarcerated at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, Johnson discovered the prison’s theater program and was initially skeptical, saying “We are in a maximum security facility and you want me to run around in tights talking about to be or not to be?" Johnson takes the leap though, and the film’s archival excerpts of his in-prison performances alongside his compelling narrative reveal how the dramatic arts impacted his ability to self-correct and express empathy.

He describes his mental and emotional transformation as liberating, concluding “I found my freedom behind those walls.”

This screening is supported in part by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to Morehouse College's Movement, Memory, and Justice Project.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    6 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Producer
    Allison Chernow, Susan Margolin, Karin Young Shiel