“Krimes” had its world premiere at the Heartland Film Festival. It chronicles the story of a clandestine masterpiece by an incarcerated artist. Isolated in a segregated environment where personal expression is verboten, 26 year-old artist Jesse Krimes covertly creates conceptual art during his six-year prison sentence. His work includes a large-scale mural made out of bed sheets, newspaper and hair gel. Jesse’s detailed crafting of this artwork provides a mental escape from the dehumanizing surroundings, while inspiring connections in unexpected places. With the help of fellow artists, he smuggles out individual panels of his work piece-by-piece to avoid being caught with contraband, only seeing his artwork in totality after coming home. His creations, Apokaluptein: 16389067 and Purgatory, mark his experience with incarceration and his perspective as an artist.
As Jesse’s work captures the art world’s attention, he struggles to adjust to life outside and the looming threat that any misstep will trigger a life sentence. Gradually, Jesse embraces his multiple identities as a formerly incarcerated man and a celebrated artist, turning a spotlight on people still in prison.
Nahimas’ work includes “The New Bauhaus,” a look at Hungarian artist László Moholy-Nagy, and “Unfinished Spaces,” the story of Cuba’s ambitious National Art Schools project. MTV Documentary Films has released the Oscar-nominated “St. Louis Superman,” the Peabody and Emmy-winning “76 Days,” and the Oscar-nominated “Hunger Ward.”
“I’m honored that Jesse Krimes and the other brilliant artists in this film entrusted me with their story, and that [MTV Documentary Films Executive Producer] Sheila Nevins found our film at Heartland Film Festival, which tells us she and the team at MTV Documentary Films aren’t just looking to do what everyone else is doing.” says Nahimas “They are on the cutting edge, focusing on artistry combined with important subject matter, and we are excited they will be bringing Krimes to audiences across the world.”
Said Nevins: “Incarcerated for six years, Jesse Krimes created conceptual art in prison. The soul of this artist was birthed while he was trapped in confinement. What follows is a surprising and inspirational story of art and justice”.
The deal was negotiated at the Heartland Film Festival by ICM Partners on behalf of the filmmakers and with Lance McPherson for MTV Documentary Films.
Krimes is produced by Amanda Spain, Benjamin Murray, and Alysa Nahmias, executive produced by Jenifer Westphal, Joe Plummer, Patty Quillin, Hallee Adelman & Ivy Herman, and co-executive produced by Nion McEvoy & Leslie Berriman, Ruth Ann Harnisch, Sheri Sobrato-Brisson.