Summary info for schedule – will be hidden on film page
The IF Project
Women are the fastest growing segment of the incarcerated population, increasing at nearly double the rate of men since 1985. The IF Project explores the reasons behind these staggering numbers by intimately following a heroic Seattle police officer and the writing workshop she created with a group of inmates at a maximum security women’s prison.
Screening day / time
Check Back Soon

The IF Project

Running Time
88 minutes

The IF Project

In the United States, there are over 6.8 million people in prison, jail, on probation or parole. That is 1 in every 35 adults. Perhaps even more alarming is that women are the fastest growing segment of the incarcerated population, increasing at nearly double the rate of men since 1985.

The If Project is a feature length documentary that explores the reasons behind these staggering numbers. The film follows a group of inmates incarcerated in a maximum-security women’s prison who are part of a writing workshop co-created by a Seattle police detective and a repeat offender serving a nine-year sentence.

The writing workshop provides access to an emotional depth and intimacy we are not often afforded with those behind bars. We journey with them as they take a brutal and honest look into their past and work to look honestly, often for the first time, at what exactly led them to prison. These stories serve as a launching off point to follow three of the women in the program as they are released, reunited with their families and faced with life on the outside. Most astoundingly, they do all of this with a police officer by their side every step of the way. We watch as a lasting bond is formed and this unlikely partnership between cop and convict unfolds.

What the The If Project allows us is an intimate journey into a world of the locked away and forgotten. It opens our eyes to the real struggles of those who are trying to reenter society – and the many obstacles they face.

Filmmaker Notes:

When I first began this project, I thought it would be completed in just over a year’s time. It was my first experience in a prison, so I had no idea what was in store for me – or what it was like to film in a maximum security facility. Change doesn’t happen quickly behind those walls and every day is very much the same. In terms of filming, it became clear that in order to build a story with real depth about the experience of these women, it was going to take some time…..eight years to be exact.

With great support from the Washington Correction Center for Women, we were able to spend a great deal of time getting to know the women’s stories (often brutal), create the writing workshops and bare witness as they deeply examined themselves and worked towards growth — even though the odds are stacked against them. You can’t come away from that experience without the knowledge that something more needs to be done.

About 700,000 inmates are released from federal and state prisons each year, and approximately two-thirds will reoffend within three years. I believe the future of our communities and our nation rests on how we rehabilitate and reintegrate former prisoners back into society. The answers to the IF question as brought to life in the documentary show us that we are returning people to our communities broken and unprepared.

We are in an important moment in time for this conversation. The topic of mass incarceration is constantly in today’s headlines. At the same time, criticism of American policing is the highest it has ever been. The IF Project demonstrates that both populations can serve each other and ultimately, our communities as a whole.

I am hopeful that the conversations started across the country as part of this project will influence policy and practice on a variety of topics: addressing social issues that lead to incarceration; improving policing practices; increasing support for successful transition to post-prison life; increasing access to employment and housing for felons through “ban the box” initiatives; and reinstating voting rights for felons nationwide. By putting a human face back on these inmates, telling their stories in an intimate and rarely seen way, The IF Project documentary lays the groundwork for change.

Film details
Year(s) screened
  • 2016
Where to Watch
Festival screenings
Screening Day / Time
Check Back Soon
Scroll to Top