Women In Film is excited to unveil the “Up and Out” PSA for A New Way of Life. The Los Angeles-based charity provides support to formerly incarcerated women for successful community re-entry, empowering them to be advocates for personal change. The organization boasts an 80 percent success rate.
The PSA features an original rap written especially for the production by BRE-Z, the actress and hip hop artist who portrays Freda Gatz in the wildly popular television show Empire (FOX), and parallels the show’s current storyline in which BRE-Z’s character is poised to emerge from time served.
Emerging from prison is a role I left behind when I went home from the set … I’ve never been incarcerated, but I have a very close friend – who I’ve looked up to since I was younger – who is currently serving time in a federal facility. Through phone and video visits with her, I feel every bit of her pain and understand how her choices affected her and her loved ones. I know the vast majority of these women have not had the opportunities I have enjoyed. I just pray I can be an inspiration for those who’ve been here before me and those who will come after me. We all have choices in life. The decision is ours.”
—BRE-Z, actress & hip hop artist
We are so grateful that this group of outstanding women came together to help support the women in our program and give them the basic tools they need to turn their lives around. We hope this PSA brings greater awareness to women leaving incarceration to let them know that there is hope and there is help. They can find a new way of life.
—Susan Burton, founder and director of A New Way of Life
In addition to supporting our community by providing a professionally produced marketing tool to worthy causes that would not otherwise be able to afford such assets, the WIF PSA program mentors up-and-coming female talent and provides them with an access point into the industry and an opportunity to learn about film production and practice their skills. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
—Tessa Bell, WIF PSA production program chair
BRE-Z’s rap was composed and produced by songwriter/performer Chase Bell. The “Up and Out” production PSA team included executive producer Shay Moore, producer Corinne Jayaweera, associate producers Lisa Logan and April Barnes, director Mariya Pyter, writer Dianne Lansing, director of photography Bruce L. Finn, PSA manager Melissa Verdugo and social media manager Jessica Dowdeswell.
Women In Film Los Angeles’ all-volunteer public service ad production program creates three to four professionally produced PSAs each year – from concept through production, editing and distribution (at a value estimated at up to $125,000) – for Los Angeles-area, women-child-centric charities and at no cost to the organization.
The program develops women’s professional and creative filmmaking skills while providing a valuable marketing tool to non-profits, which often cannot afford to produce their own. Through a year-long process, select creative teams are given professional hands-on experience in writing, directing and producing. Each production crew ranges from 26-63 volunteers and WIF constituents and is made up of 65 percent women, providing an opportunity to build their work experience and be mentored by experienced people from the entertainment industry. The PSAs are shot in HD using industry standard cameras and lighting equipment donated by companies that value empowering creative women. The spots are distributed through television/cable stations, the Internet and utilized for other promotional opportunities.
The program is funded by the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs and with generous in-kind donations of equipment from Claremont Camera Film & Digital and Panavision.