IT’S A HARD TRUTH AIN’T IT will be available for streaming on HBO GO and HBO NOW on SATURDAY, FEB. 23 starting at 11:45 p.m. (ET), following the debut of HBO Films’ O.G. earlier that evening, and will debut MONDAY, FEB. 25 at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT) on the main HBO channel.
Co-directed by Madeleine Sackler and 13 men serving extended sentences at Indiana’s Pendleton Correctional Facility, the documentary IT’S A HARD TRUTH AIN’T IT is the first widely released film co-directed by men incarcerated at a U.S. maximum security prison. In the film, these men study documentary filmmaking as a vehicle to explore their memories from childhood to incarceration.
Alternating roles in front of and behind the camera, they reflect on how they ended up with decades-long sentences, providing an unflinching look at a variety of circumstances and influences that led them to commit acts of violence, resulting in incarceration. As they describe their experiences, scenes from their lives are brought to life in stunning detail by animator Yoni Goodman (“Waltz with Bashir”).
IT’S A HARD TRUTH AIN’T IT was shot during the same production period as the HBO Films drama O.G., starring Jeffrey Wright, directed by Madeleine Sackler, written by Stephen Belber, and also filmed entirely at Pendleton. Several of the incarcerated co-directors of IT’S A HARD TRUTH AIN’T IT were cast as first-time actors in O.G.
O.G., debuting SATURDAY, FEB. 23 (10:00–11:50 p.m. ET/PT), follows Louis (Jeffrey Wright), once the head of a prominent prison gang, in the final weeks of his 24-year sentence. His impending release is upended when he takes new arrival Beecher (Theothus Carter), who is being courted by gang leadership, under his wing. Coming to grips with the indelibility of his crime and the challenge of reentering society, Louis finds his freedom hanging in the balance as he struggles to save Beecher.
Director Madeleine Sackler says, “In a way, O.G. and IT’S A HARD TRUTH AIN’T IT are two different sides of the same coin. In O.G., Louis is preparing to leave prison after 24 years of incarceration. In IT’S A HARD TRUTH AIN’T IT, the men look deeper into the paths that got them to prison in the first place. In that sense, neither film is about being in prison, but something deeper.”
HBO acquired the two films following their premieres at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. Discussing HARD TRUTH, Kareem “Biggs” Burke, an executive producer on both projects, says, “To hear these men speak for themselves on what caused them to make so many mistakes, and to hear them express their deep remorse for their victims, was a powerful part of this film.”
Executive producer dream hampton adds, “The input our partners — the men inside prison and on camera — had in directing and telling their stories is a collaborative model I hope to see replicated as often as possible.”
IT’S A HARD TRUTH AIN’T IT is an HBO Documentary Films presentation of a Great Curve Films and Stacey Reiss production; a film by Dennis Brown, Marshaun Bugg, Al’Jonon Coleman, James Collins, Franklin Cox, Brandon Crider, Clifford Elswick, Quentis Hardiman, Joseph Henderson, Charles Lawrence, Herb Robertson, Madeleine Sackler, Rushawn Tanksley, Mark Thacker; producers, Madeleine Sackler, Stacey Reiss; executive producers, Kareem “Biggs” Burke, Sharon Chang, Greg Gunn, dream hampton, Lisette Nieves, Marshall Sonenshine, Mark Steele.
O.G. is an HBO Films and Maven Pictures Presentation in association with Brookstreet Pictures, a Great Curve Films production of a Madeleine Sackler film; directed by Madeleine Sackler; written by Stephen Belber; executive producers, Sharon Chang, Kareem “Biggs” Burke, Mark Steele, Nic Marshall; producers, Madeleine Sackler and Boyd Holbrook.
Follow @HBOPR for more news and information.