A once orphaned 1974 film created by former UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television graduate students has returned to UCLA and with it the voices of incarcerated women telling their stories.
On Saturday, Jan. 28, the UCLA Center for the Study of Women | Barbra Streisand Center and the UCLA Film & Television Archive will present the world premiere of the restored “We’re Alive.” The screening, which starts at 7:30 p.m., will take place at the Billy Wilder Theater inside the Hammer Museum.
The event will also welcome back the film’s creators, Michie Gleason, Christine Lesiak and Kathy Levitt, for a discussion and Q&A following the screening. The conversation will reflect on the continuities between prison conditions in the 1970s and the current realities of surviving California’s carceral state.
Driven by their activism and an interest in the experiences of incarcerated women, the filmmakers designed and led a portable video workshop in 1974 at the California Institution for Women in Chino, which at the time was the largest women’s prison in the United States.
Gleason, Lesiak and Levitt wanted their mark as filmmakers to be unnoticeable: collaborating with incarcerated people, whose participation was voluntary, to give the women in the community an opportunity to speak for themselves about their individual and collective experiences. As a result, production history of the film remained largely unknown until the last decade, when requests for the film started filtering into the Archive, which has since digitally remastered it.
Admission to the screening is free. No advance reservations are required. Free tickets must be obtained on a first come, first served basis at the box office, where seating will be assigned.