THE SENTENCE – Director talks about the HBO’s documentary

Imagine if you stayed away from your kids for 15 years! That happened with Cindy Shank who was sentenced to 15-year sentence for her tangential involvement in a Michigan drug ring six years earlier. First-time director and Cindy’s brother Rudy Valdez was able to captured an intimate portrait of her family and three daughters who also seem to be serving a long sentence without their mother in THE SENTENCE. The HBO documentary airs Monday, October 15 at 8:00PM.

I had the opportunity to talk with Rudy alongside with other fellow journalists. MUSE TV recorded and let me shared the interview below. Check it out the emotional interview where Rudy talked about his sister, his family, his inspirations and why he decided to make it this documentary.


THE SENTENCE contains hundreds  and hundreds of hours of footage shot by Rudy, who initially copes with his sister’s incarceration by filming the family moments Cindy misses in prison. In the midst of Shank’s sentence, Rudy discovers his voice as a filmmaker and activist.

THE SENTENCE offers a searing look at the consequences of mandatory minimum sentencing and received critical acclaim when it premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The documentary was produced by Sam Bisbee and Jackie Kelman Bisbee; executive producers Wendy Neu, Lance Acord and Theodora Dunlap; co-producers, Geeta Gandbhir and April Hayes.

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