Three formerly incarcerated mothers fight to rebuild their lives in “Apart” on INDEPENDENT LENS – Feb. 21 at 10 pm

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The Documentary Examines the Impact of America’s War on Drugs Through the Stories of Three
Formerly Incarcerated Women as They Prepare to Rejoin Their Families

Since the beginning of the War on Drugs, the number of women in U.S. prisons has grown over 800 percent, and the majority of those women are
mothers. In “Apart,” Academy Awardnominated filmmaker Jennifer Redfearn (“Sun Come Up,” and “Tocando La Luz”) examines this staggering statistic through the lens of three mothers imprisoned in the midwest for drugrelated charges. “Apart” depicts their struggles with poverty, addiction, and surging incarceration rates as these women strive to mend familial bonds after years of separation and reestablish their lives once released from prison.

female inmate in prison leaning on wall
Amanda at the prison.

INDEPENDENT LENS, the awardwinning PBS documentary anthology series presented by ITVS, will premiere “Apart” for its U.S. broadcast debut on February 21, 2022, at 10:00 p.m. ET. The film will also be available on the PBS Video app.

Filmed over three and a half years, from their lives inside prison to the year following their release, Redfearn follows three young mothers in Cleveland, OhioLydia, Tomika, and Amandacaught between harsh drug sentencing and rising incarceration for women. This intimate portrait examines the impact of America’s war on drugs through three mothers attempting to rebuild lives derailed by drugs and prison. As Tomika, Lydia, and Amanda prepare to rejoin their families after years of incarceration, they enter an innovative prison program in Cleveland, Ohio, where they lean on each other and on mentors who have also been in prison. With the hope of redemption on the horizon, the women work to regain the trust of their children and combat stigmas associated with people who have been incarcerated.

As they work through the program and reconnect with their children, Lydia, Tomika, and Amanda begin to see the promise of reunion and redemption. An ultimately hopeful portrait, “Apart” not only explores the hardships incarcerated mothers face as they prepare to rejoin their families, but also the obstacles they encounter postprison as they navigate looking for jobs, finding housing, and reconnecting with their children.

two female inmates in a transport van
Lydia and Amanda in the prison van en route to the reentry program.

Women are the fastestgrowing population in the U.S. criminal justice system. In this film, we meet Lydia, Tomika, and Amanda, mothers eager to make amends and reclaim their lives,” said director Jennifer Redfearn. “With the majority of women imprisoned for drugrelated offenses, their journeys to recovery and redemption are more common than you’d think. We hope this film sheds light on how incarceration impacts mothers, children, families, and, as a result, entire communities, and inspires audiences to give second chances.”

“‘Apart’ is a story of the American family, and the willpower it takes to reunite after a prolonged separation and the struggle to mend relationships,” said Lois Vossen, executive producer of INDEPENDENT LENS. “Our hope is that ‘Apart’ touches hearts of families everywhere, to connect with these stories and recognize the impact of prison rehabilitation programs.” “Apart” is included in INDEPENDENT LENS’s ongoing Stories for Justice initiative, a public media partnership, which spotlights films about systemic racial inequities across America and aims to spark community conversations about justice reform.

Visit the Apart” page on INDEPENDENT LENS for more information about the film.


Two female inmates on bench in prison yard
Tomika and Amanda share a moment in the prison yard.

About the Filmmakers
Jennifer Redfearn
Jennifer Redfearn directed and produced the Oscarnominated “Sun Come Up.” Her film “Tocando La Luz” (“Touch the Light”) aired on PBS, and she was a field director and consulting producer on SXSW Audience Awardwinner “Landfill Harmonic.” She has produced docs for PBS, BBC, National Geographic, CNN, and Discovery, and is director of the documentary program at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Tim Metzger
Oscarnominated producer and Emmynominated cinematographer Tim Metzger filmed and produced “Sun Come Up,” as well as “Tocando La Luz” (“Touch the Light”). He was DP for several Emmynominated series, including National Geographic’s “The Story of God” with Morgan Freeman and Discovery’s “Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero.” Tim’s work has also appeared on PBS, BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, and HBO.