The Sentence draws from hundreds of hours of footage, filmmaker Rudy Valdez shows the aftermath of his sister Cindy’s 15-year sentence for conspiracy charges related to crimes committed by her deceased ex-boyfriend—something known, in legal terms, as “the girlfriend problem.” Valdez’s method of coping with this tragedy is to film his sister’s family for her, both the everyday details and the milestones—moments Cindy herself can no longer share in. But in the midst of this nightmare, Valdez finds his voice as both a filmmaker and activist, and he and his family begin to fight for Cindy’s release during the last months of the Obama administration’s clemency initiative. Whether their attempts will allow Cindy to break free of her draconian sentence becomes the aching question at the core of this deeply personal portrait of a family in crisis. Director Rudy Valdez stops by to talk about his intimate, and loving family saga that support each other no matter the cost.
**WINNER: Sundance 2018 Audience Award: U.S. Documentary**
**WINNER: 2018 Traverse City Film Festival Roger Ebert Prize For Best Film By A First Time Filmmaker**
**2018 Locarno International Film Festival Official Selection**
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“THE SENTENCE is poised to do for unjust sentencing what AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH did for climate change. If Al Gore was the hero Americans at Sundance and beyond needed in 2005 — a welcoming, professorial face to associate with the fight against environmental catastrophe — Shank and her daughters offer the criminal justice equivalent, giving a human access point to what many experts describe as a sociological disaster.” – Steven Zeitchik, The Washington Post
“The Sentence is so committed to its concentration on emotion and heart that it’s difficult not to get carried away and it feels almost churlish to quibble with the intellectual responses it barely aspires to.” – Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter
“The Sentence is a powerful film full of rich, raw emotions as all parties explore their vulnerabilities.” – John Fink, The Film Stage