A film exploring what redemption looks like for 50 men who society has deemed irredeemable
The 50 is a feature-length documentary and character-driven exploration of the lives of the first 50 men to have taken part and complete a first of its kind rehabilitation program called the Offender Mentor Certification Program (OMCP) and thus becoming California Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselors while inmates of the California state prison system. The film tells the story of a select few of “the 50”, moving through their childhood, lives before prison, early years in prison, experience within the OMCP program at Solano State Prison, and their lives today as they work to live virtuous lives on the outside. Through the film, the idea of rehabilitation and redemption for those who society have deemed irredeemable is explored and thus forces the audience to reevaluate their own judgments of our country’s prison population as well as rethink what is possible if our prison system took rehabilitation seriously.
Meet the 50
In 2008, over 300 inmates serving either life or long-term prison sentences at Solano State Prison applied to be part of the inaugural Offender Mentor Certification Program class. Of the 300 that applied, 50 were accepted into the program.
What appeared to be merely an opportunity to get in front of the parole board upon graduating from the program, became an agent of radical change for these 50 men and the prison they served time in.
As a group that spanned a spectrum of different races, gang affiliations, criminal histories, they were forced to confront the sinister nature of prison politics and their pasts by entering into a process of introspection led by the nation's top clinical psychologists and addiction experts.
Today, 43 of the 50 are living on the outside. These are a few of the men.
“Can the corrections system offer an opportunity for healing?”
“Can the most hardened criminals transform to become valuable members of society?”
“What does rehabilitation look like in a system designed to punish and break a human being?”
“Can rehabilitative programming change prison culture?”
Director/ Producer, Brenton Gieser is a filmmaker, documentarian, and photographer originating from Half Moon Bay, California and currently producing the majority of his work in San Francisco. He approaches his work as a personal mandate to help raise questions around social and economic injustice with a desire to move us towards deeper community understanding and social equity. His work has been published by publications such as the New York Times, Vice, Upworthy, KQED, SF Magazine, and others.
Creative Producer, Estevan Padilla is an Alaskan born and Bay Area educated filmmaker. He received his BFA in Cinema from The Academy of Art. After college he began his career on Alaskan based feature films and documentary projects for National Geographic and Discovery Channel. He moved back to San Francisco to fully immerse in the filmmaking community, working on such landmark productions as LOOKING, SAN ANDREAS, GODZILLA, SENSE 8, and many others.
Producer, Traci Lewis
is a Bay Area native who works as a Director of a large San Francisco based social service non-profit that serves the poor and homeless people of the Tenderloin community. Traci is also a Board member of a non-profit in the same community that provides job readiness training to people who face various barriers to employment including the formerly incarcerated. Traci met Randy Carter in 2017 and after hearing his story, and that of The 50, she felt compelled that this story was one that had to be told.
Line Producer, Audrey Gloeckner is a producer currently located in the Bay Area. She received a MS in Biopsychology at the University of Michigan. After moving to San Francisco, she began her career working on feature films and commercials, but her interest in storytelling and current events has propelled her focus towards documentary filmmaking. She has worked on projects in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and New York.
Impact Producer, Colette Kessler is an impact strategist currently working as the Director of Partnerships at Vote.org. Previously, Colette led business development in North America for Change.org, the world’s largest social impact platform. She is also the Founder of Made to Matter where she fuses design, advocacy, and storytelling to create large scale impact.
Director of Photography, Tony Mac is a commercial cinematographer and San Francisco native. He learned his craft at the world renowned Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California. He tries to create stories that don’t fade, stories that will resonate on an emotional level with the viewer. Knowing that the story relies on the cinematographer, he carefully crafts his work with a blend of technical expertise and strong narrative. His clients includes Google, Zynga, Clif Bar, Stitch Fix, Barracuda, amongst others.
Associate Producer and Story Consultant, Randy Carter
is a member of the 50 and was released from Solano State Prison in 2016 after serving a 34-year sentence. He was incarcerated at the age of 18 and released at the age of 52. As a result of graduating from this life changing OMCP Program, Randy is not only a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor but also a changed man. Randy is now living on the outside thriving, working and giving back by volunteering in his community helping the underserved and homeless populations in San Francisco.
Associate Producer, James Alexander is a member of the 50, having served 28 years in the California State Prison System in 9 different prisons over that time span. He was granted parole three times only to be denied by the Governor each time. Eventually, James won his freedom through the California Court of Appeals. Ever since becoming a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor through OMCP, he has furthered his education in the field earning his masters degree and becoming a counselor for the Sonoma County Department of Health Services.
The 50 is currently in production, focusing on both filming and coalition building with organizations leading the reformation of our criminal justice system.
Join us in our journey to tell a story that will challenge our core beliefs about humanity and inspire us into action!