EXCLUSIVE: Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder Kareem “Biggs” Burke has signed on to two Tribeca Film Festival titles as Executive Producer, Madeleine Sackler’s feature O.G. and her documentary It’s a Hard Truth Ain’t It, both of which were shot in Indiana’s maximum-security Pendleton Correctional Facility.
O.G. which premieres tonight at 7PM EST at the SVA2 stars Jeffrey Wright as a security prison inmate who is on the cusp of being sprung until unfortunate complications occur when he meets a younger inmate, reminiscent of himself. You can watch a clip of the movie above.
“In prison you can be surrounded by thousands of people but yet feel lonely. I think Jeffrey Wright brought that feeling to life with his performance. This movie shows the inner workings of prison politics and the repercussion of the crimes committed,” says Burke about O.G.
It’s a Hard Truth Ain’t It, which premieres Wednesday April 24 at SVA 2, provides a glimpse at the stories of 13 men incarcerated at Pendleton who Sackler teaches filmmaking to, providing them with a platform to tell their own stories about their hardened lives.
“Madeleine Sackler hit the nail on the head by letting the inmates show vulnerability by addressing their crimes and the life they lived that brought them to prison by making wrong decisions. I’m hopeful that this will spark debate and discussions that will not only cause the government to be more compassionate but also divert people from making the same mistakes that may land them in prison,” said Burke about Hard Truth.
Both movies mark the first time that a film and doc were shot at a Level 4 facility with real prisoners. Built in 1923, Pendleton is most famous as the only prison that John Dillinger never escaped from. Deadline exclusively broke the news about Sackler making both movies.
Burke is a Harlem native who started Roc-A-Fella Records with Jay-Z and Damon Dash in 1995. Burke started the clothing line Rocawear under the empire in addition to launching the careers of such music artists as Kanye West. Burke’s current enterprises include a film division, the fashion brands Fourth of November, Reasonable Doubt, and the luxury line ReDo96 which also lives as a special design unit.
“We are thrilled to have Biggs joining the teams for both O.G. and It’s a Hard Truth Ain’t It as we prepare for the films to go out into the world. These are critical and complicated subject matters that impact millions of men, women, and children in our country, and our commitment is to telling the stories truthfully and with sensitivity to all involved. Biggs’ work in the incarceration space combined with his entrepreneurial expertise is unparalleled, and we are so fortunate to have such a positive, committed partner,” says Sackler.
Smokehouse Pictures’ George Clooney and Grant Heslov were originally on board as producers of the features, but have since departed.