×

Patty Jenkins Funnels Ideas of Female Empowerment Into Anti-Recidivism Efforts

After making the 2003 independent film “Monster,” about serial killer Aileen Wuornos, director Patty Jenkins started to correspond with prisoners around the country. “I became educated in how incredibly difficult it can be for people to get out of prison — even when they are innocent, even when they are reformed,” she says. “The world brands a person a prisoner forever.”

While doing research for another project, she connected with producer Scott Budnick, who experienced a similar epiphany when he volunteered to teach creative writing to incarcerated juveniles in Los Angeles. In 2013, Budnick officially started the nonprofit Anti-Recidivism Coalition to help men and women leaving prison navigate ways to reenter society.

Variety Power of Women Cover 2017 Patty Jenkins
CREDIT: Art Streiber for Variety

ARC offers counseling, mentoring services, education and assistance with housing. It also has partnered with chains like Starbucks, Home Depot and The Cheesecake Factory to facilitate job placement. Budnick uses his connections to the movie industry when he can. “I had a few folks straight out of prison work on ‘The Hangover,’” says Budnick about the hit comedy that he produced. “They worked their butts off.”

The organization also has been educating legislators on a need for reform, including working on a bill that grants juveniles a second chance to come home. Budnick says that Jenkins has been one of his most important allies from the start. “She dove into the work and helped us, mentoring folks, visiting our housing programs,” he says. And the director recently hosted two “Wonder Woman” screenings — one at a juvenile camp for girls and one at a women’s prison — followed by Q&As where she talked about personal responsibility and empowerment.

“ARC has been a place that is setting the groundwork to give a real education and a real head start and a real chance to a lot of people who are recent parolees,” Jenkins says. “Very few people are born wanting to be a lifelong prisoner or even a criminal. When given a path out, everybody wants to be a hero in their story.”

Power of Women LA
READ MORE

More Film

  • Sylvester Stallone Variety Cover story

    Sylvester Stallone Feels Robbed of an Ownership Stake in 'Rocky': 'I Was Furious'

    Sylvester Stallone shares an uncanny, symbiotic connection with Rocky, the underdog boxer character he created four decades ago — a kindred spirit who served as his creative muse in spawning one of Hollywood’s most successful film franchises. In his long career Stallone also played another memorable screen role — John Rambo — but Rocky was [...]

  • Beware of Children

    First Trailer Released for Venice Days Entry 'Beware of Children' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Variety has been given exclusive access to the first trailer for Dag Johan Haugeruds’ politically and socially charged drama “Beware of Children,” which premieres as part of the Venice Film Festival’s Venice Days section. The pic, which is being sold at Venice by Picture Tree Intl., features the dramatic aftermath of a tragic incident in [...]

  • The Tower animated film about Palestinians

    ‘The Tower’ Animation Wins Japan's Skip City Festival

    “The Tower,” Mats Grorud’s animation about the plight of the Palestinians, as viewed through the eyes of an 11-year-old girl in Beirut, won the grand prize in the international competition at the 16th edition of Skip City International D-Cinema Festival. The film also scooped the section’s audience award. The Skip City festival, which launched in [...]

  • For web story

    Transgender Immigrant Pic 'Lingua Franca,' Thriller 'Only Beasts' to Bow at Venice Days

    New York-based Filipina filmmaker Isabel Sandoval’s “Lingua Franca,” about a transgender immigrant, is among 11 competition entries, all world premieres, that will launch from the Venice Film Festival’s independently run Venice Days section. The only U.S. entry set to compete in the section modeled on Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight, “Lingua Franca” is Sandoval’s third work. It [...]

  • Female-Led and LGBTQ Narratives Win Big

    Female-Led and LGBTQ Narratives Win Big At Durban FilmMart Awards

    DURBAN–Female-driven narratives and daring portraits of queer culture around the continent were the big winners at this year’s Durban FilmMart (DFM), the industry program of the Durban Intl. Film Festival, which handed out awards at a ceremony Monday night at the Southern Sun Maharani Hotel. Among the prize-winners were the story of a Zimbabwean woman [...]

  • Oscar Nominations Reactions Phyllis Nagy

    Screenwriter Phyllis Nagy Runs for Writers Guild Presidency, Citing Agency Stalemate

    Oscar-nominated screenwriter Phyllis Nagy is challenging Writers Guild of America West’s incumbent president David Goodman, citing his handling of the bitter stalemate between the WGA and Hollywood agents. Nagy announced her candidacy online Monday night, a day before the deadline for filing. She made the announcement  in a private online group as part of Writers for [...]

  • Klaudia-Reynicke

    Locarno: Summerside Picks Up ‘Love Me Tender’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Rome-based Summerside Intl. has acquired international sales rights to Klaudia Reynicke’s “Love Me Tender.” The second feature from Peru-born and Switzerland-based filmmaker will receive its world premiere at the Locarno Festival in its Filmmakers of the Present competition, which focuses on first and second features. Summerside Intl. is the world sales agent, excluding and Lichtenstein [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content