The San Quentin Prison Marathon has an unconventional route: 105 dizzying laps around a crowded prison yard. Director Christine Yoo deeply empathetic documentary, 26.2 TO LIFE, tells the story of incarcerated men who are members of the 1000 Mile Club, the prison’s long distance running club. They train all year for 26.2 mile long marathon race, all of which takes place inside the walls of the infamous San Quentin Men’s Prison mile race. For the men who take their places at the starting line on a cool, sunny November morning, completing the marathon means more than entrée into an elite group of athletes. It’s a chance to be defined by more than their crimes. Cheering them on are a small staff of volunteer coaches, veteran marathoners who train with the runners throughout the year. The bonds they forge on the track create a community that transcends prison politics and extends beyond the prison walls as members are released. 26.2 TO LIFE is a story of transformation and second chances. The film offers a rare glimpse into a world out of bounds, as the men navigating life sentences seek redemption and freedom…or something like it. Director Christine Yoo takes us inside the walls, physical and psychological of the men, who readily acknowledge the mistakes and crimes they have committed, work to define the remainder of their lives as positive and worthwhile.
*Winner: Audience Choice Award – Santa Barbara Festival 2023*
*Winner: Reel Women Direct Award – Cleveland International Film Festival 2023*
*Winner: Audience Award for Best Feature – SF Documentary Film Festival (DocFest) 2023*
*Independent Film Festival of Boston – Grand Jury Prize
Seattle International Film Festival – Winner Golden Space Needle Award
*Runner Up: Audience Award – DOC NYC 2022*
About the filmmaker – Christine Yoo is a director, producer, writer, volunteer at San Quentin State Prison and co-founder of the San Quentin Film Festival. As a producer, she has worked on nonfiction series for National Geographic, History, Oxygen and PBS for Revelations Entertainment, S.M.A.C., The Story Lab, Dick Wolf Films, Shed Media and Prometheus. Her independent work focuses on under-served voices and has been sponsored by Sundance, The Marshall Project, Rogovy Foundation, LGMobile, Hyundai, Korean Air and she is a Logan Nonfiction Fellow. Yoo directed and produced the documentary short, A Conversation At Claudia’s, a special project for the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA PS1), co-wrote the cult anime series Afro Samurai, starring Samuel L. Jackson, and directed, produced and co-wrote the award-winning Korean-American rom-com Wedding Palace, starring Brian Tee and S. Korean actress Kang Hy-jung (Oldboy) in her English language debut. 26.2 TO LIFE is Yoo’s first feature documentary.
“The film’s leads—a father, a former track star, and a journalist—are not glorified but humanized, and their captivating stories are told with the unflinching conviction that their lives could use more than loaned running shoes.” – Sam Machkovech, The Stranger
“Though not specifically political in nature, Yoo’s film may just change a few minds regarding the purpose of prison as a rehabilitative tool rather than a punitive one.” – Douglas Davidson, Elements of Madness
“Christine Yoo’s hopeful nonfiction feature strikes the right balance in telling the stories of San Quentin inmates who are participating in the prison-supported 1,000 Mile running club.” – Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News