A tapestry of Americana seen through the eyes of four residents of Florence, Arizona — a cowboy town surrounded by nine prisons. Founded in 1866, this bastion of the Wild West is home to 8,500 civilians and 17,000 inmates. Seen through an unconventional lens, this documentary weaves together the personal stories of Lina, a sensitive, New Age mayoral candidate; Gunny, a Vietnam veteran, cowboy poet, and correctional officer; Marcus, a young man searching for permanence without much success outside of a jail cell; and Andy, the ex-con town barber whose family has been in Florence for seven generations. An intricately crafted view of a small town with a prison problem, told with humor, intimacy, and pathos, revealing as much about ourselves as it does about the modern prison state.
Director’s Statement: Andrea B. Scott
When my friend David first showed me his photographs of “this small town in rural Arizona with nine prisons,” it piqued a sense of outrage, but also curiosity in me. Here was a McDonald’s with an Immigration Detention Center in its shadows; a Sonic drive-through looked at by orange-suited men through barred windows; a shiny, new gated suburban community, just down the street from a very different kind of gated community. How exactly did these juxtapositions play out in everyday life? What did the presence of nine prisons do to a place and its people? I traveled out to Florence a few months later with a camera and a couple friends to find out.