Review: Video Librarian

Review: Video Librarian ★★★

Filmmaker Margie Friedman’s inspiring documentary tells the story of the East Hill Singers, a longtime choir composed of men incarcerated at the Lansing Correctional Facility in Lansing, KS. The only choir of its kind in the U.S. that allows concerts to be performed beyond prison walls, the East Hill Singers is comprised of convicted felons, some serving a few years behind bars while others have rarely known life in the outside world. The group’s founder and director, Kirk Carson, a volunteer who is not an inmate and will include anyone in the ensemble regardless of their level of talent, proves to be a congenial but also driven subject in interviews. Carson explains how and why he started the project and why he believes it to be an essential tool in helping to reduce recidivism—the latter being a noteworthy subject for a number of participants who talk here about past misdeeds (some of them heinous) and voice their hopes of being able to stay out of trouble in the future. Conducting Hope culminates in a concert for friends and families, in which Carson’s hard work and taskmaster approach appear to pay off nicely. Recommended.

Aud: C, P. (T. Keogh)