In Prison My Whole Life

Director: Marc Evans
Screenwriters: Marc Evans, William Francome

Institute History

  • 2008 Sundance Film Festival


On December 9, 1981, Mumia Abu-Jamal was arrested for the murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner. That was also the day that William Francome was born. Twenty-five years later, Abu-Jamal is still on death row, despite seemingly overwhelming new evidence that should, at the very least, garner him a new trial. Francome goes on a journey to try to understand what happened to Abu-Jamal's case and expose the truth about racial justice in America.

Francome’s youthful perspective provides the ideal viewpoint to examine issues of racism and criminal injustice, illuminating how contemporary they still are. He travels around the United States getting energetic, poetic, and deeply moving interviews with Angela Davis, Alice Walker, Noam Chomsky, Mos Def, Snoop Dogg, and Steve Earle, among others. Along the way, he raises questions about the repercussions and damages of racial injustice, not only to those targeted but to the American culture.

Intricately going through the details of Abu-Jamal's case, In Prison My Whole Life works on a number of levels and grows beyond what happened to one man, becoming a critique of the judicial system, capital punishment, and racism in the United States. Marc Evans (House of America) returns to the Sundance Film Festival with an inventive and stylish documentary that stresses urgency—Abu-Jamal’s life hangs in the balance, but his voice still rings true and loud.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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