Award-Winning New Folsom Prison Film Makes Its NorCal Debut in Grass Valley

Written by on January 16, 2018

The critically-acclaimed film “The Work” will have its Northern California premiere at the Del Oro Theatre, downtown Grass Valley,  on Thursday, January 25th at 7 p.m.

The documentary, which won the Grand Jury Award at the 2017 SXSW Film Festival in Austin and was named the second best documentary of 2017 by Rolling Stone Magazine, shows the work of the group Inside Circle and the Inside Circle Foundation at New Folsom Prison.

Set inside a single room in the Sacramento area correctional facility, “The Work” follows three men from the outside as they participate in four days of intensive group therapy alongside maximum security convicts.  Over the course of the four days, each man in the room takes his turn at delving deep into his past.

The raw and revealing process that the men undertake exceeds the expectations of the free men, ripping them out of their comfort zones and forcing them to see themselves and the prisoners in unexpected ways.

According to KVMR 89.5 FM Thursday Morning Show host Cheri Snook, “The Work” offers “a powerful and rare look past the cinder block walls, steel doors and the dehumanizing tropes in our culture to reveal a movement of change and redemption that transcends what we think of as rehabilitation.”

Snook, who admits she is outright passionate on this cause,  has had an ongoing relationship with New Folsom and the Inside Circle group for about a dozen years.

“It all started at 4 a.m. one morning when a prison doctor heard me playing folksinger Buddy Taber from Alaska,” she recalled. “He wanted to bring Buddy to New Folsom for a performance, and that’s how the door opened.”

Cheri found herself involved with the prison’s Arts in Corrections program and started bringing musicians and other artists into the facility for performances and classes, totaling over 160 local, regional and national artists over time — including a Thanksgiving Eve national live same day radio broadcast of Michael Franti and Spearhead from New Folsom Prison that Snook and KVMR produced in 2006 and aired on the Pacifica Radio Network.

As Cheri discovered the work of the Inside Circle Foundation, she also produced a Franti benefit for the program at the Grass Valley Veterans Hall later in the decade.

“It’s a circle of men providing a grief process toward spirit with teachings of leading African spirituality and healing,” she said.

According to Snook, Cai Sorlien of the Nevada County Congolese Dance troupe “is an avid mentor/teacher on a weekly basis” at the prison and is included in the film.

Snook added the movie got extra showings and sold out houses last year at Michael Moore’s film festival in Traverse City, Michigan.

The film shows “the first time cameras have been let in to film a sacred four-day” Inside Circle session, Snook added.

The Del Oro screening will be attended by staff from Inside Circle Foundation, the not for profit prison outreach organization responsible for the four-day Inside Circle sessions.  Following the showing of “The Work”, Inside Circle staff will discuss the film and host a Q&A session.  Several paroled ex-convicts from the film are also expected to be in attendance, as well as staff from New Folsom Prison.

Art from the Arts in Corrections program will also be on display and for sale at the premiere.

“It’s fitting that Nevada County is host to the NorCal debut of The Work, as this community has been a key participant in programs at New Folsom,” said Rob Albee, co-founder of Inside Circle Foundation.  “Countless men and women from Grass Valley and Nevada City have volunteered behind the walls at New Folsom, from support groups to poetry classes, 4-day sessions to music trainings.”



WHO: Sierra Theaters

WHAT: Northern California premiere of the documentary film “The Work” about Inside Circle at New Folsom Prison

WHEN: 7 p.m., Jan. 25

WHERE: Del Oro Theater, 165 Mill St., Grass Valley

TICKETS: $8-$10.50





KVMR will air two live remote broadcasts this week:

–The Nugget Fringe’s kickoff party will be broadcast Thursday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. from 151 Union Square in Grass Valley, including snippets and stories from most of the festival’s 40 shows.

–“Tom Petty: End Of The Line,” a musical tribute to the fabled rock music artist from local musicians, will air 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday from the Ol’ Republic Brewery in Nevada City.

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