Atlas Network documentary wins awards, tells a story of struggle and hope

Larry be shined 11

For those who have lived behind bars for decades, the first week of freedom is often the hardest. Many struggle to get a foothold, return to crime and eventually, prison. Organizations like Atlas Network partner Georgia Center for Opportunity work to change that dynamic by making it easier for formerly incarcerated individuals to gain employment and lead fulfilling lives. Iron Light Labs’ collaboration with Atlas Network on an award-winning documentary shows what can happen when newly freed people get the support they need to make a successful fresh start.

First Week Out follows Larry through just that—his first week in the outside world after forty years in prison. With the help of a specialized transitional home, Larry got a place to stay, coaching on unfamiliar technology, and help finding a job. Even in that environment, it’s not an easy path. His story showcases the need for more comprehensive policy changes and more on-the-ground resources to empower people like Larry to restart their lives on a healthy, productive track. Pastor Lee—who founded the transition home in which Larry spent his first week out—recounts his own journey through the justice system, the difficulty of reentering society, and how his experience inspired him to serve people like Larry.

First Week Out has been accepted into dozens of film festivals across nine countries, including the Cannes International Cinema Festival, the Rhode Island International Film Festival, and the Prague International Film Festival, where it won Best Inspirational Film. Many other festivals have chosen it as an award winner, nominee, or official selection. Find out more about the film and watch the trailer here.

First Week Out was produced in collaboration with Iron Light Labs.