Reel Docs 2020 Season Finale

Reel Docs 2020 Season Finale


Incarcerated Rhythm
Tue, Mar 10 and Wed, Mar 11, 2pm
Teatro Santa Ana
La Biblioteca
Reloj 50A
150 pesos (includes margarita reception)

By Kate Frank Cohen

The 2018 documentary Incarcerated Rhythm recounts the story of six men who regain dignity, confidence, and self-esteem by participating in a unique and groundbreaking modern dance rehabilitation program while serving years behind bars in a medium security federal prison in upstate New York. The program led by three-time nominated CNN Hero of the Year, Susan Slotnick, a pioneering dancer and choreographer, had never previously been tested in a prison and despite its success it remains the only one of its kind in the US. 

The film follows these unlikely dancers while in prison and in the first few years following their release as they navigate relationships, secure jobs, and decide whether or not to continue performing. During their reentry into society the men discover that finding the beat to the “rhythm of freedom” is much more difficult than moving to the “rhythm of incarceration.”

The movie began as a short documentary in 2013 titled The Game Changer, while Malaysian director and Fulbright scholar Indrani Kopal pursued her MFA degree at Hofstra University. An official selection at 17 film festivals, it won “Best Documentary” at the 2014 Harlem International Film Festival and was featured in the American Pavilion’s “Emerging Filmmaker Showcase” at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

Incarcerated Rhythm is a continuation of that project and the result of five more years of hard work. In its new incarnation as a feature length documentary, the film premiered at the 2018 Harlem International Film Festival, where Kopal was awarded the “Mira Nair Award for Rising Female Filmmaker” for her feature directorial debut. It went on to be an official selection at numerous film festivals, was recognized as a semi-finalist at the 2018 Courage Film Festival, and won an “Award of Merit” at The Accolade Global Film Competition.

At a post-screening discussion, the film’s co-producer Derek Burrows will talk about the movie and answer questions. For more than 20 years, Mr. Burrows has focused his prolific career on every aspect of documentary filmmaking, working on dozens of movies as a producer, director, cinematographer, writer, composer, and editor. In addition to being Incarcerated Rhythm’s producer, he was its story consultant, post-production and music supervisor, and the composer and singer of a song in the film, “Motherless Child.”

Incarcerated Rhythm will be shown on Tuesday, March 10, and Wednesday, March 11,  at 2pm in la Biblioteca’s newly-renovated Teatro Santa Ana.Following the screening and discussion, the audience is invited to meet the filmmaker at a reception.with margaritas and limonada. Tickets for the film are 150 pesos, including the reception, and may be purchased at the Santa Ana box office, Calle Reloj 50A, Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm, or online at Please note: Advanced-purchase ticket holders are asked to arrive at least 15 minutes before the program begins to be seated. Reel Docs films often sell out and unclaimed seats will be released to standbys on a first-come, first-served basis at showtime. For more information about Reel Docs visit and