Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


With vibrant energy and style, actor/director Vondie Curtis Hall takes over the camera to give us Redemption, the inspiring true-life story of Stan "Tookie" Williams, the founding father of the infamous Crips street gang, whose time in jail inspired him to help inner-city youth and pen books that earned him two Nobel Prize nominations.

Professor Barbara Becnel (Lynn Whitfield) writes historical texts, but when her son Charles is drawn to gang culture, she decides to write a book about the Crips. She tries to interview Tookie, but her calls go unanswered. Inside San Quentin, Tookie (Jamie Foxx) is busy running the prison with an iron fist. However, years in a miniscule cell prompt him to begin studying the dictionary which a deceased sage bequeathed him. One word, "redemption," captures his attention so deeply that he finally agrees to see Becnel. What neither of them realizes is the tremendous impact their meeting will have on their lives and those of millions of youth around the world.

Jamie Foxx turns in an exceptional performance as a man who transforms himself, while Curtis Hall skillfully weaves Tookie's troubled past and life in prison with the developing tender connection he makes with Becnel. Redemption teaches by example how someone can craft his own redemption.

— Shari Frilot

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