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I wanted to create a piece that made the audience feel like they were with the inmates, having the same emotional experience as the on-site volunteers. I hope that “Step to the Line” has the power to make people realize that they are not that different from someone who serves time.
Ricardo Laganaro, Author, to DocuBase
Step to the Line is a short VR documentary by Brazilian filmmaker Ricardo Laganaro that explores the ways that lives are changed after spending time in prison. The film documents an exercise regularly run by Defy Ventures, a nonprofit that provides a six-month entrepreneurship program for inmates at over 20 prisons in the United States. A group of inmates stand in line facing a group from Defy staff and volunteers, while Defy Founder Catherine Hoke reads statements such as “I’ve lost someone I loved to gang violence” or “I’ve earned four year college degree”. Depending on what statements resonate, participants step towards or away from the line in the center of the room. Shot on location at a California maximum security prison, the project aims to provoke a shift in the viewer’s understanding about prisoners, the prison system, and themselves by showing the common humanity, differing realities, and racial biases experienced by the inmates and volunteers.