HBO will air new documentary The Sentence on October 15th, preceded by an Oscar-qualifying theatrical run beginning October 12th.
In The Sentence, filmmaker Rudy Valdez covers the consequences of his sister's 15-year sentence for conspiracy charges for crimes committed by her deceased ex-boyfriend. This legal situation is known in legal terms as ‘the girlfriend problem', and Rudy and family set out to challenge the sentence during the last months of Obama's clemency initiative.
The documentary won the Sundance 2018 Audience Award: U.S. Documentary, as well as the 2018 Traverse City Film Festival Roger Ebert Prize for Best Film By A First Time Filmmaker.
As Steven Zeitchik of The Washington Post describes it:
“THE SENTENCE is poised to do for unjust sentencing what AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH did for climate change. If Al Gore was the hero Americans at Sundance and beyond needed in 2005 — a welcoming, professorial face to associate with the fight against environmental catastrophe — Shank and her daughters offer the criminal justice equivalent, giving a human access point to what many experts describe as a sociological disaster.”