Lives in Focus- $2514 Funded

March 13th, 2007

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We are so excited that Lives in Focus is fully funded. Our highest amount raised so far! Thanks to everyone who contributed and spread the word.

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Project Site: Lives in Focus: Family Life Behind Bars
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Lives in Focus: Family Life Behind Bars

February 6th, 2007

Lives in Focus: Family Life Behind BarsClick here to download
Lives in Focus is vlogging the impact on family relations and dynamics when one or more member of a family is incarcerated. How do some families overcome the separation, financial strain, social stigma and guilt while others crumble? Why is there a greater likelihood that a child of someone who is in prison will also end up in jail at some point? How do society, politics or special interests help or hinder family relations?

I plan to post a video about three minutes in length that focuses on a particular theme showcased through a family’s life. How do such obstacles impact the relationship between a parent and child (both the parent who remains at home and the one in prison)? Between husband and wife? Between siblings? Is there anticipation or dread or tedium at the thought of the long hike on visiting day? How are family relations re-established when a prisoner is released? What are the unforeseen consequences of being released? What efforts do inmates make to stay in touch from within prison walls?

These short, thematic vlogs will show people in their daily lives with relevant audio from interviews. I plan to post on a regular once-a-week schedule for 3 to 6 months.

I also plan to loan video cameras to a few families we select. Lives in Focus has already agreed to set up workshops in conjunction with Prison Families of New York to train these families to document their own lives. We will edit this material and post it to the vlog, giving credit to the families. The videos will be available to the public for free for non-commerical use with a Creative Commons copyright.

Lives in Focus is NOT questioning the guilty verdict that sent people to prison. We also recognize that many crimes upset the lives of others–in extreme cases even depriving families of their own loved ones. Lives in Focus believes, however, that it is important to document and be aware of the repercussions that imprisonment has on an inmate’s family, a large and growing population in America.

As an award-winning journalist who wrote frequently for the New York Times and as a journalism professor at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism, I have already gained access to prisoners and their families. I have a strong track record working with people who are often ostracized by society. The previous Lives in Focus project, shot in 2005, documented the lives of men, women and children in India who are HIV+ or have AIDS.

Project Site: Lives in Focus: Family Life Behind Bars
Subscribe to the project.

A note from Jay Dedman, Lives in Focus’ advocate:

I met Sandeep when he wrote an NY Times article on Videoblogging back in 2005. It was the first time a journalist really seemed to respect what we were doing in the Videoblogging Community. We weren’t just people making funny viral videos, but actually had the ability to make videos of consequence. He ended up starting his own videoblog, Lives in Focus, helping set the example of what we can do with this new medium without boundaries. Any ambitious project needs some money to get started, so help fund the work we want to see.

Deliverables Approx. 1 video/wk for 3-6 months
Timeline To begin immediately
Purpose Equipment and Expenses
Amount $2500
Recipient Sandeep Junnarkar