Youth justice advocates earned several Telly awards for short films showcasing the problems associated with fines and fees in the juvenile justice system.
The two winning films were produced by advocates with the national campaign Debt Free Justice, which coalesces local organizations across the country to push for the elimination of fines and fees charged to families of incarcerated children.
Children in the justice system and their families are required to pay a variety of related costs, from court fees to paying for ankle monitors. When those fees aren’t paid, people can be fined and even incarcerated, trapping many in a cycle of inescapable debt and chronic involvement in the system.
The film “A Future Shouldn’t Be Fined,” directed by Marvi Lacar won the Silver Telly for both directing and social impact in the “branded content” category. Lacar won the Bronze Telly for directing in the branded content category for “Keep Them Feet Movin’,” which also earned a Bronze Telly in writing for Desmond Bryant of the Kansas youth advocacy group Progeny.
Marquetta Atkins, Progeny’s executive director, was the executive director on both winning films.
“At Progeny, we say our stories are bigger than the box you try to put us in. We are grateful for the Debt Free Justice team for handling the stories of young people with such intentionality and compassion, and truly highlighting how detrimental it is to profit off the trauma of young people,” Atkins said in a press release.
The winning films are both available to view on Vimeo: