Women On The Outside

The Film

Growing up in Philadelphia, Kristal Bush saw nearly all the men in her life locked up. She’s not alone. Her mother, girlfriends and neighbors suffer the trauma of trying to stay connected to their incarcerated loved ones through letters, expensive phone calls, commissary bills and long road trips for short visits up state.

After graduating college, becoming a social worker and buying a house, Kristal devises a creative solution for herself and the women in her world. She starts a van service, driving women to see their men at upstate prisons. At the wheel of those vans, she’s able to harness some good out of the isolation, instability and expense of the penal system.

Soon after we meet her, first Kristal’s brother, then her father, are released from prison and come home after a collective 40 years behind bars. As the men return to Kristal’s life, the ambitious millennial confronts the challenge of maintaining stability while trying to reconstruct her family after decades apart. Kristal also has to decide whether to keep her transport service going now that her family has come home, creating challenges that distract her from the business.

Interweaving verite footage with Kristal’s own narration and social media, WOMEN ON THE OUTSIDE tells a deeply American story about family, friendship, innovation and the legacy of mass incarceration.  

The Formation

In 2014, Zara Katz and Lisa Riordan Seville founded @EverydayIncarceration, a collaborative Instagram feed of photography documenting 40 years of mass incarceration in the United States. In building that archive of images, they saw that stories about women who support those behind bars were conspicuously lacking.

@EverydayIncarceration and the multimedia version of “Women on the Outside,” have been supported by the Magnum Foundation and Brown Center for Media Innovation and have been exhibited at The Philadelphia Museum of Art and Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Photoville in New York and FOTODOKS in Munich, Germany.

Directors / Producers

Zara Katz

Zara Katz (Director/Producer/Cinematographer) is an independent photo producer and filmmaker, specializing in crafting character-driven visual stories. Katz has worked at The New York Times Lens blog, Time magazine and Newsweek and been on staff at the digital publication Narratively and the journalism nonprofit started by Barbara Ehrenreich, Economic Hardship Reporting Project. She is the co-founder of Hot in Here Productions, a team that creates documentary-driven content for editorial and branded projects. In 2018 she was the Director of Still Photography for Lifetime/A+E Networks special digital project, “Her America: 50 Women, 50 States.” Most recently, she was the Senior Photography Producer on “Project #ShowUs” with Getty Images, Dove and Girlgaze, which created a new collection of licensable images and the current Dove campaign.

Lisa Riordan Seville

Lisa Riordan Seville  (Director/Producer/Cinematographer) is an independent reporter and producer based in Brooklyn, New York. Over the last ten years, she has focused on longform stories and investigations on criminal and social justice issues, from people incarcerated for failing to pay court fines to immigration to the longterm fallout of the nation's foreclosure crisis. She has worked  for the NBC News Investigative Unit as an off-air and assistant producer on in-depth stories for television and the web. Her work has also appeared on WNYC New York Public Radio, The Guardian, The Nation and Salon.com, among other outlets. Support for those stories has come from The Open Society Foundations, the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, the Center for Health Journalism and the Urban Reporting Program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She holds a masters in journalism from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

Kiara C. Jones

Kiara C. Jones (Co-Director, Producer) is a Director, Producer, Writer and the proprietor of Cultivated Films LLC. The Directors Guild of America honored Kiara with the Grand Jury Award for directing her debut feature, Christmas Wedding Baby, (Urbanworld, VIACOM, BET, Netflix). She has been nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for producing Anja Marquardt’s, She’s Lost Control. (Berlinale, CICAE, SXSW) and has collaborated with Oscar winning writer Geoffrey Fletcher as the US winner for the Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series (TriBeCa). Kiara is an Alumni of IFP’s Emerging Narrative Lab, was selected for Sony Pictures Television Diverse Director’s Program is a Trans Atlantic Partners International Co-production symposium fellow, and a 2019 BRIO Award Winner.
Make a Contribution
We're seeking production funding. It's tax deductible!