Chances: The Women Of Magdalene

Inspiring uplift abounds in "Chances: The Women of Magdalene," a slickly produced but unmistakably sincere docu about a femme Episcopalian priest's outreach program to rehabilitate Nashville prostitutes. Theatrical potential is limited, but pic could find appreciative auds through tube and nonprofit exposure. DVD already can be ordered at the Web site for helmer Tom Neff's Documentary Channel cable network.

Inspiring uplift abounds in “Chances: The Women of Magdalene,” a slickly produced but unmistakably sincere docu about a femme Episcopalian priest’s outreach program to rehabilitate Nashville prostitutes. Theatrical potential is limited, but pic could find appreciative auds through tube and nonprofit exposure. DVD already can be ordered at the Web site for helmer Tom Neff’s Documentary Channel cable network.

The Rev. Becca Stevens — chaplain of St. Augustine’s Chapel at Vanderbilt U. — operates Magdalene as a last-chance support organization for prostitutes (many of them recovering substance abusers) who frequent the Music City’s notorious Dickerson Road neighborhood. Clients in the two-year program gain a sense of self-worth, and obtain training and work experience while preparing beauty products for Thistle Farms, a cottage industry that generates Magdalene funding. Pic touches briefly yet respectfully on Rev. Stevens’ background and motivation — she was sexually abused at an early age — but focuses primarily on her program’s clients, who prove remarkably candid while describing past ordeals and future plans. Feisty Clemmie Greenlee emerges as first among equals, and her response to tragedy provides of one the pic’s many emotional highlights. High-def video lensing enhances the pic’s intimacy.

Chances: The Women Of Magdalene

Production: A LifeWorks Foundation production in association with IHP Capital Partners. Produced, directed by Tom Neff.

Crew: Camera (color, HDV), Neff; editor, Barry Rubinow; music, John Rosasco. Reviewed at Nashville Film Festival (Documentaries), April 21, 2006. Running time: 91 MIN.

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