Ten years ago, filmmaker Anne Rogers began a film called DOING LIFE, a documentary that profiled prisoners serving life sentences with a possibility of parole and examining California’s parole system at a time when very few lifers were getting out. She interviewed lifers and their families, filmed parole board hearings, and visited immigration detention jail. One of the lifers that she followed was Eddy Zheng. Unfortunately, DOING LIFE was not finished due to a lack of funding. I was able to contact Anne this year and share with her my current project on Eddy. She very generously offered to share her footage with me; the only issue was that they had been holed up somewhere in a storage shed for years and their whereabouts were uncertain. This past Sunday, I went to the storage shed with her to search for the mini-DV and DVCAM tapes. The shed was packed to the ceiling, but after a few hours of hauling boxes, bikes, sleds, dressers, tables, and chairs out, we found the tapes! The footage is priceless—including Eddy’s college graduation at San Quentin and his parole board hearings—and will add a crucial component to the documentary. After packing the storage shed back up, we had lunch and talked about why we both wanted to make these films—we have both been deeply inspired by lifers who we have met and wanted to provide an alternative story to the dehumanizing messages about prisoners and lifers that are often in the media. Thank you Anne for your generosity and dedication!  – Ben Wang

Finding the tapes!

Eddy at 30 years old