15 to Life

PBS Premiere: Aug. 4, 2014Check the broadcast schedule »

Kenneth's Letters

My first letter to Kenneth Young was to ask him to participate in a documentary. His lawyer Paolo Annino had spoken to me on the phone and reviewed my most recent film. He met with Kenneth to discuss my request, but ultimately the decision was Kenneth's. Kenneth agreed to let me film his resentencing not knowing what the result of his hearing or the film would be. As a filmmaker, I'm always humbled when someone trusts in me to tell their story. In this case I was particularly moved, given what was at stake for this young man.

Relationships between filmmakers and subjects are inherently difficult to navigate. You have to build trust, but remain objective. Building a rapport with Kenneth was challenging, because of the physical barriers. I live in Canada 1,300 miles from Kenneth's "home". Other than seeing Kenneth in court, I was only in his presence one other time - when I was permitted to interview him at Falkenburg Jail. For these reasons, I really got to know Kenneth Young through letters. I want to share some of what I have learned about Kenneth over the past two years.

15 to Life filmmaker Nadine Pequeneza: