It's Criminal highlights the economic and social inequities that divide the United States and offers a vision of how separated communities can learn to speak to each other. Poignant and personal, the 80-minute feature documentary shares the life-changing journeys of incarcerated women and Dartmouth College students working together to write and perform an original play that explores the often painful and troubled paths that landed the women behind bars and also shares some of their fragile visions for the future. 

It's a transformational movie that delves into privilege, poverty and injustice and asks viewers to think about who is in prison and why. In addition to exploring disparities, It's Criminal also captures how the students and prisoners struggle and ultimately succeed in overcoming their fears and prejudices to form hard won bonds of friendship, showing that empathy is a powerful force that can help bridge the divide.


WINNER, AUDIENCE CHOICE for Best International Documentary at Monterrey International Film Festival in Mexico

WINNER, SPECIAL JURY PRIZE, Documentary Section at the Talca International Film Festival in Chile

WINNER, AUDIENCE CHOICE for Best Feature Documentary at Bozeman International Film Festival in Bozeman, MT

WINNER, IMPACT DOC AWARD for Feature Documentary

WINNER, JURY PRIZE, Documentary Section at the Social Justice Film Festival in Seattle, WA

WINNER, VTPBS MADE HERE AWARD for Best Documentary at the Vermont International Film Festival


Athena Film Festival in NYC; Chesapeake International Film Festival in MD; Female Eye Film Festival in Toronto; GlobeDocs in Boston; Green Mountain Film Festival in VT; High Falls Film Festival in NY; Justice on Trial Film Festival in LA; Los Angeles Women's International Film Festival; Maine International Film Festival; Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival; New Hampshire International Film Festival; VT Women's Film Festival; Women's History Month Film Festival in NJ; Women Texas Film Festival in Dallas, among many others. For a complete list, please visit SCREENINGS


Director Signe Taylor is an award-winning filmmaker. She produced and directed Circus Dreams, a feature documentary about the only traveling youth circus in the United States. Circus Dreams premiered at the Family Zone of the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011 where it received a Youth Jury Honorable Mention. Circus Dreams went on to receive Best Film4Families Feature at Seattle International Film Festival, Indie Spec Award at Boston International Film Festival, Audience Choice at Woods Hole Film Festival, and a Parents' Choice Gold Award, among other honors. It was nationally broadcast on public television in 2012. Prior to that, Taylor directed Greetings From Iraq, a half-hour documentary about the effects of Operation Desert Storm and the international embargo on Iraqi families. This was also well-received on the festival circuit before airing on PBS. In addition, she has covered political candidates for C-Span, produced for the children's show ZOOM on PBS and received her MA from the Documentary Film Program at Stanford University and BA from Barnard College at Columbia University.

DP Charlene Music is an award-winning shooter and filmmaker born and raised in Costa Rica. After studying photography at Harvard University, she produced domestic violence prevention films in rural communities in India. Since then, her work in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the USA has won numerous prizes including awards from the National Academy of Television, the University Film and Video Association, the Caucus Foundation and Kodak. Her documentary Roz (and Joshua), about a homeless mother's longing for her child, showed in human rights festivals around the world, was the winning film at the Festival International des Tres Courts in Paris and won CINE's Special Jury Award. Her next documentary, Danza del Viejo Inmigrante, won the Best Documentary Award at the Big Sky and Angelus Film Festivals. In addition, she has taught documentary film for New York University's Study Abroad Program in Cuba and worked as a cinematographer for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. She received her MFA in filmmaking from Stanford University and BFA from Harvard University.


Supervising Editor Peter Rhodes was trained at the BBC in London. Since moving to the United States in 1986, he has accumulated more than 50 credits for films that have appeared on PBS, the BBC and at major film festivals. His recent work includes editing Latin Americans for PBS, which won a Peabody Award, and Inside the Meltdown for Frontline. He also edited The Last Mountain, which screened at Sundance and won the IDA Pare Lorentz award and The Price of Sugar, which won the Audience Award at SXSW.


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Editor Sam Powell graduated with a degree in Communications and Film Studies from UMass Amherst, where he was awarded the Michael S. Roif Award for Excellence in Film and Video. He shot and edited the Fred Fay Story: A Tribute, which was expanded by Eric Neudel into Lives Worth Living, a documentary on disability rights broadcast by Independent Lens. He also directed, shot and edited Cutting Ties, a fiction short which won the Independent Film Channel (IFC) Road to Individuality Award, securing a television and web distribution contract with IFC to expand it into an episodic series. In addition, he has produced stories for Boston University's daily news show BU Today, served as assistant editor for Chad Beck's Park Avenue: Money Power and the American Dream, and edited for WGBH-Boston. 


Composer Paul Brill is a highly regarded musician, who has received 3 Emmy Award nominations for his scores for Full Battle Rattle (National Geographic), The Devil Came on Horseback (Break Thru Films), and The Trials of Darryl Hunt (HBO), which was hailed by Variety as "memorably chilling, sounding notes of purest dread." Paul recently won the 2011 Best Music Award from the International Documentary Association for his score for Better This World. Brill collaborated with rock legends U2 on the HBO film, Burma Soldier. In addition, he scored the hit documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (IFC), the widely-acclaimed Page One: Inside the New York Times (Magnolia) and recently completed work on the landmark 6 hour PBS documentary, The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, with noted historian Henry Louis Gates and additional musical contributions from Wynton Marsalis.



Co-Producer Ivy Schweitzer is a Professor of English and the Chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Dartmouth College. She co-created and co-taught Prisoner, Women and Performance, the class documented in It's Criminal. With a Ph.D in American Literature from Brandeis University, Professor Schweitzer is a widely published author, award-winning teacher and nationally recognized expert on women’s issues. She brings her extraordinary analytical skills, fundraising ability and academic connections to the project.






Documentary Advisor Pati Hernandez is the founder of the non-profit organization Telling My Story, an Adjunct Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Dartmouth College and a collaborator with Bread and Puppet Theater. With Professor Schweitzer, she co-created and co-taught the Dartmouth class documented in It's Criminal. Originally from Chile, Professor Hernandez has performed as a dancer, stilt walker and puppeteer all over the world.  She has run her Telling My Program at correctional facilities in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico and Chile. A gifted facilitator and tireless agent for social change, she brings her founder's vision and performer's insights to the film.


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