First-time director Rudy Valdez’s film looks at the aftermath of his sister’s incarceration, examining the consequences of mandatory minimum sentencing. His sister, Cindy Shank, received a 15-year mandatory sentence for conspiracy charges related to crimes committed by her deceased ex-boyfriend.
Valdez’s method of coping with the incarceration was to film his sister’s family for her, both the everyday details and the milestones. It also details his family’s fight to win her release during the last months of the Obama administration’s clemency initiative. The promotional photo for the film emphasizes the missing part of the family, cutting off the head of Shanks and focusing on the children.
The Sentence was produced by Park Pictures’ Sam Bisbee and Jackie Kelman Bisbee. Executive Producers are Wendy Neu, Lance Acord and Theodora Dunlap. Co-producers are Geeta Gandbhir and April Hayes.
HBO plans to debut the film later this year. Cinetic handled domestic sales on the title.
“This film has been more than ten years in the making and we wanted to make sure we found the right home, especially given the intimate nature of the story,” Valdez said. “In partnering with HBO, we’re excited about working together to get this film out into the world and make as huge an impact as possible.”
In addition to The Sentence, Park Pictures also had Sundance premieres for Brett Haley’s Hearts Beat Loud (Nick Offerman, Blythe Danner, Sasha Lane, Ted Danson, Toni Colette, Kiersey Clemons) and Jim Hosking’s An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn (Aubrey Plaza, Craig Robinson, Jemaine Clement, Emile Hirsch).