The Campaign

About The Return Project

Our current criminal justice system is broken, but we’re on cusp of what could be historic change and new momentum is building every day nationwide.

By drawing audiences in through dramatic, intimate personal narratives, THE RETURN humanizes stories too often told by statistics alone and creates audience empathy and understanding. THE RETURN PROJECT aims to mobilize supporters by asking them to take actions that will help strengthen local reentry support and increase employment opportunities for returnees.

More than 70 million Americans have an arrest or conviction record and nearly half of those who successfully complete their sentences wind up back in prison, very often from a lack of employment options available to those with criminal records. There are more than 650,000 citizens released from prison each year and considering the increased momentum for state and federal sentencing reforms, these numbers are likely to increase.

Without jobs, places to live, or other supports in place, many returnees feel the same pressures that landed them in prison in the first place. It is imperative that we strengthen reentry support and assist returning citizens in finding and keeping jobs. These elements are crucial both materially and psychologically to successful reintegration.

Campaign Team

Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega

Directors

Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega are documentary directors producers and screenwriters whose work explores the intersections of institutional power, civil and human rights and political activism. Known for creating emotionally powerful films that brings attention to pressing political and social issues, their work has received the Writer’s Guild of America’s Best Documentary Screenplay Award, Independent Documentary Association’s Creative Achievement Award, Gotham Independent Film’s Best Documentary Award and 7 National Emmy nominations.

Kevin Bilal Chatman

Film Subject and Campaign Representative

Born in Los Angeles, Kevin Bilal Chatman moved to San Jose as a child with his single mother (a nurse) and three brothers. As a teenager, he was a wrestler, and on both the football and track teams. He attended high school and junior college in San Jose before beginning work in the logistics field. In the 1980s when the economy crashed, Bilal lost his job, and when the crack epidemic hit, he was swept up in drug addiction and dealing. Ultimately, he received a 150 years-to-life sentence under California’s “Three Strikes” law for selling $200 worth of drugs to an undercover police officer. Incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, known for its unusual commitment to programming, Bilal took classes in sociology, drug addiction, parenting, anger management, humanities, and yoga, and also played on the prison’s baseball team. In 2012, Californians overwhelmingly voted to amend the “Three Strikes” law and Bilal became eligible for release. After nearly 11 years, he returned to San Jose, a district with relatively high support for those reentering, and has since thrived. He is currently the Logistics Supervisor for a major organization, overseeing two campuses and 21 employees. Bilal has since married and was voted the 2015 Employee of the Year at his second job with a major American sports team.

As a member of “The Return Project,” he was recently featured on “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” and has been a panelist at a Capitol Hill Screening with Congressman Elijah Cummings of Baltimore. He continues to travel the country speaking about the effects of mass incarceration on communities and individuals across America.

Ana Homannay

Photographer

Homonnay was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil. After receiving her degree in film, she directed a travel show for MTV where she and a small crew traversed Brazil in search of adventure and natural beauty. She shot photos throughout and still photography became an essential visual component of the series. Ana specializes in helping foundations and nonprofits document powerful stories through visual storytelling. From foster youth struggling to adapt to life on a college campus to families at the bedside of their kids at Children’s Hospital, Ana creates photo libraries that foundations use for annual reports, websites and marketing campaigns. Ana’s gentle approach to her subjects gives her the ability to create natural connections that lead to authentic and soulful portraits. For THE RETURN PROJECT Ana will immerse herself in the lives of the children whose parents are imprisoned, in an attempt to better understand the impact of mass incarceration.

Becky Korman

Impact Producer

BECKY KORMAN is a documentary film producer whose expertise spans television, short format and feature film. Becky Co-Produced the feature documentary films The Return (POV52016) and El Poeta (LPB Voces 2015), directed and produced by award-winning filmmakersKelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway of Loteria Films. Becky produced the fist two episodes of Food Forward (2014), a nationally broadcasted PBS series about innovative food and farming practices across the US. Currently she is producing Those That Breathe, a documentary feature about Inuit people of the Canadian Arctic who fight for survival amidst the brutal impacts of climate change. The film is directed by acclaimed photojournalists Kitra Canaha and Ed Ou. Becky is committed to producing high caliber work for directors with impactful stories.

Selina Lewis

Impact Producer

SELINA LEWIS co-founded GreenHouse Pictures in 2003, a documentary production company dedicated to telling diverse stories from a variety of perspectives that enlighten, educate and entertain. She has produced more than 12 nationally broadcast documentaries exploring a wide range of topics. Her films include; Hard Road Home, about the formerly incarcerated (director: Macky Alston) which premiered on PBS’ Independent Lens, and was nominated for an Emmy; Occupation: Dreamland, a cinema verite portrait of American infantrymen serving in Fallujah, Iraq, (directors: Garrett Scott and Ian Olds), which won the Independent Spirit Truer than Fiction award and aired on the Sundance Channel; George Ratliff's critically acclaimed Hell House, Premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, won at the San Francisco International Film festival and was released theatrically by Seventh Art Releasing; Macky Alston's Questioning Faith aired on Cinemax/Reel life; Family Name (director: Macky Alston) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Freedom of Expression Award. The film was also nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Historical Programming after it aired nationally on PBS.

Mariana Price

Impact Producer

Mariana Price has over ten years of experience producing entertainment television, docu-reality series, independent film and documentaries in countries including the US, Mexico, South Africa, Germany, and Australia. She has a degree in International Business and has focused a great part of her career in producing content for the Hispanic market in the US. Mariana’s documentary-short “Descalzos”, a film about a youth basketball team from a remote region in Southern Mexico, was awarded the Youth Vision Award at the United Nations Association Film Festival at Stanford University. Besides working as an Impact Producer on The Return Project, Mariana currently teaches film production at Berkeley City College. Propelled by her professional experience, international profile and studies in business, languages and art, Mariana strives to bring an effective and diverse perspective to every project she takes on.