The new trailer debuted for the documentary feature Belly of the Beast featuring the original song ‘See What You’ve Done’ written and performed by nine-time Grammy winner and two-time Oscar nominated singer-songwriter, Mary J. Blige. Belly of the Beast exposes modern-day eugenics and reproductive injustice in California prisons.
Mary J. Blige told Variety, “I was moved by Erika Cohn’s important documentary Belly of the Beast. I immediately knew I wanted to be involved and was inspired to write a song that would amplify the voices of women in prison. ‘See What You’ve Done’ is a testimony, a call to be strong, and an anthem for a movement.”
When an unlikely duo discovers a pattern of illegal sterilizations in women’s prisons, they wage a near impossible battle against the Department of Corrections. Filmed over seven years with extraordinary access and intimate accounts from currently and formerly incarcerated people, the documentary feature Belly of the Beast exposes modern-day eugenics and reproductive injustice in California prisons.
Directed by Emmy and Peabody award-winning filmmaker Erika Cohn (The Judge and In Football We Trust), Belly of the Beast will have its theatrical release starting Friday, October 16, 2020 at theaters across the U.S. including Los Angeles (Laemmle Theaters), San Francisco (The Roxie and Smith Rafael Film Center), New York, and more.
The film had its world premiere as the Opening Night Film at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in June. This fall, it will screen at the Mill Valley Film Festival in the San Francisco Bay Area, Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival in Washington, DC, and Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. It will have its national television debut on the award-winning PBS television series Independent Lens on Monday, November 23.
The pastoral farmlands surrounding the Central California Women’s Facility, the world’s largest women’s prison, help conceal the reproductive and human rights violations transpiring inside its walls. A courageous woman who was involuntarily sterilized at the facility, teams up with a radical lawyer to stop these violations. They spearhead investigations that uncover a series of statewide crimes, primarily targeting women of color, from inadequate access to healthcare to sexual assault to illegal sterilization. Together, with a team of tenacious heroines, both in and out of prison, they take to the courtroom to fight for reparations. But no one believes them.
As additional damning evidence is uncovered by the Center for Investigative Reporting, a media frenzy and series of hearings provide hope for some semblance of justice. Yet, doctors and prison officials contend that the procedures were in each person’s best interest and of an overall social benefit. Invoking the weight of the historic stain and legacy of eugenics, Belly of the Beast presents a decade long, infuriating contemporary legal drama.