In the United States, more than 2,500 individuals are serving life-without-parole sentences for crimes they committed when they were 17 years old or younger. A powerful new documentary, “Lost for Life,” tells the stories of these individuals, their families and the families of the victims. The film is the result of writer-director-producer Joshua Rofé’s intensive efforts over four years.
Beginning today, “Lost for Life” — an official selection of five major U.S. Film Festivals, a ratings powerhouse for the BBC in the U.K., and a title coming to television in 57 countries (including Lifetime Movie Network in the U.S.) — will be available in the U.S. on iTunes. The film is being distributed by SnagFilms, Indiewire’s parent company. Produced by Ted Leonsis, Rick Allen, Mark Jonathan Harris, Peter Landesman and executive producers Scott Budnick and Ari Silber, “Lost for Life” highlights four stories of homicide and the resulting life sentences for the teenage offenders.
Veteran documentary filmmaker Harris, who claimed Oscars for “Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport” and “The Redwoods,” collaborated with Rofé as a mentor on the project. In fact, the two worked so well together, they are now in production on their next documentary, “Swift Current,” about the impact of sexual abuse.
“I would not have ended up with the film we ended up with if not for Mark pretty much showing me how to be a director,” Rofé told Indiewire.
Producer Ted Leonsis said, “I fell in love with Josh; his passion for this story and the innate tension I felt around ‘could I forgive these children if they had slain my loved ones?’ We talk about forgiveness and redemption often in society, but this film really called the question to me, and it dealt with such a big and sensitive and hidden issue as well: Why are we as a country so populated with so many children sentenced to life without parole? Who are they? Should they be released and forgiven? When? Why?”