The Walls

Filmmaker Q&A with Director Gonzalo Escuder

What motivated you to make your impact video?

We met Loretta Taylor, the coordinator of the project at a social convention, and we thought it would make a fascinating project to be involved in.


Please provide a brief description of the work or organization featured in your video.

We followed the last days of a debate project at the Coyote Ridge prison, Washington. During one semester, students from Washington State University visit the prison in order to work together with the inmates on a debate about gun control.

The aim of the project is to inspire both sides, the inmates and the students, and to break the symbolic walls, which separate both worlds.


What have you learned about the value and impact of the project?

This is the only project where I have cried continuously while recording the documentary. I learnt, most of all, about social injustice, and about the importance of education, and critical thinking.


What do you want audiences to take away from this video?

The aim of the video is the same as the project: help breaking the symbolic walls between the people inside and outside prison. Help the people outside understand that the people inside are, in most cases, no different, and that the difference in most cases, lies in access to education, and to other opportunities in life.


Please list key points that should be covered in a post-screening discussion:

– what is the image that you have of inmates in general?
– who do you think is responsible for that image?
Рwhat do you think should be the function of jails in general? is punishing  or educating more important?
– do you think inmates should have the right to education?
– did you feel that both the students inside and outside jail where being educated? What do you think the students from outside learnt?
– some people think that the jail industry in the USA is one which moves enormous sums of money. What would be the implications of this if it was true?


What opportunities are available for those interested in getting further involved?

Recently a friend of mine, philosophy professor, watched the film, and decided to create a very similar project at the University where she teaches. The project is running now.

Wouldn’t it be a great project to have in every school or University? Try to create it yourselves! We shouldn’t live in a world where we turn our backs to those in jail, and pretend they don’t exist.



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