port of harlem magazine
mike jones state farm
Me Facing Life 2: Cyntoia’s Fight For Freedom Documentary
January 17 – January 30, 2019
cyntonia brown will be released

Cyntoia Brown, the 30-year-old Tennessean convicted of murder as a teenager, serving a life sentence, and who was granted clemency last week by Governor Bill Haslam, is the subject of a new official documentary. Daniel H. Birman Productions, producers of the “Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Fight For Freedom” expects to release the updated “Me Facing Life 2: Cyntoia’s Fight For Freedom” later this year.

Many say the original story set in motion Haslam’s granting her clemency. The 2011 documentary chronicles Brown’s story of being arrested in 2004 for murdering a 43-year-old man who picked her up for sex.  

Although only 16 at the time, she was tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison. Brown is now scheduled to be released August 7, 2019, after serving 15 years in prison.

Since the release of the first documentary, Brown’s case received worldwide attention. In fall 2017, several renowned personalities came forward on social media to plead for freedom for her including Rihanna, T.I., Kim Kardashian West, LeBron James, and Cara Delevingne. More than a half million people signed petitions in support of her release including several Port Of Harlem Facebook readers. Odyssey Impact, which is working with Birman Productions, hopes the new film and new national impact campaign will spur further change.

According to Odyssey Impact, Tennessee laws have and are changing in the wake of the first documentary’s release. Because of the changes in laws, if Brown were tried today, she would not receive such a severe sentence. At the time she was convicted, she was seen as a prostitute who committed first degree murder. Today, Brown would be seen as a victim of human sex trafficking. The new law does not impact Brown or other young people previously convicted of similar crimes.

The goal of Odyssey’s campaign will be to inspire change that would end the practice of trying and sentencing juveniles as adults, which still exists in five states: Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, Texas and Wisconsin, and to push for wider reforms, since all states have transfer laws that allow young offenders to be prosecuted as adults for more serious offenses, regardless of their age. “By partnering with Odyssey Impact, we can do as much as possible to elevate awareness in ways that lead to real action and change in our country and beyond,” said Daniel Birman, producer, director and writer of the documentary.

Note:  Odyssey Impact is looking for groups to work with in sponsoring screening of one of their many films.
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