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Grasshopper Film Acquires ‘The 50,’ Documentary on First Incarcerated Substance Abuse Counselors (EXCLUSIVE)

Grasshopper Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights to “The 50,” a documentary from Brenton Gieser centered on some of the nation’s first incarcerated substance abuse counselors.

The film will be released on VOD on April 9, tied to a series of special screenings in Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco. Additional markets will follow as part of Second Chance Month. Following its world premiere at DOC NYC, the film has played at Santa Barbara, Miami, Cleveland and Big Sky Film Festivals.

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“Grasshopper is extremely pleased to add ‘The 50’ to our catalog. It was a natural fit. A subject that is both specific, yet universal, we’ll be discussing this documentary long after its release. We look forward to working with Brenton, whose passion for this important subject is palpable, and we’re excited to connect the film with audiences around the country,” Lily Spitz, director of non-theatrical and digital distribution, said in a statement.

“The 50” follows 50 men along their journey to become some of the first incarcerated substance abuse counselors in the country, while serving life sentences in an overcrowded and drug-saturated prison system.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to have my debut documentary, ‘The 50’ shared with the world via Grasshopper Film,” director Brenton Gieser said in a statement. “I have a deep belief that the stories of these 50 men from one of the nation’s most radical and impactful prison rehabilitation programs have the potency to spark meaningful inquiry and potential healing with anyone who experiences it. We hope people from all ends of class, political and racial strata find parts of themselves in the stories of survival and rebirth of ‘The 50.'”

Traci Lewis, Brenton Gieser, Estevan Padilla, Audrey Gloeckner-Kalousek and Colette Kessler produced the film. Jeffrey Sobrato serves as executive producer. Spitz and Ryan Krivoshey of Grasshopper negotiated the deal with RJ Millard of Obscured Pictures on behalf of the filmmakers.

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