BELLY OF THE BEAST

Belly of the Beast screenshot of a woman handcuffed to a gurney.

by Erika Cohn

(USA, 2020, 81 min., Captioned and Audio Described in English)

Live Zoom Q&A with filmmaker on Friday, Sept 24 @ 8 pm

Available for Streaming on Blackboard from Thursday, Sept 23 @ 12 noon to Saturday, Sept 25 @ 11:59 am

When a courageous young woman and a radical lawyer discover a pattern of illegal sterilizations in California’s women’s prisons, they wage a near-impossible battle against the Department of Corrections. With a growing team of investigators inside prison working with colleagues on the outside, they uncover a series of statewide crimes — from inadequate health care to sexual assault to coercive sterilizations — primarily targeting women of color. This shocking legal drama captured over seven years features extraordinary access and intimate accounts from currently and formerly incarcerated people, demanding attention to a shameful and ongoing legacy of eugenics and reproductive injustice in the United States. 

Belly of the Beast Trailer

Erika Cohn is a Peabody, Emmy and DGA Award-winning filmmaker who Variety recognized as one of 2017’s top documentary filmmakers to watch and was featured in DOC NYC’s 2019 “40 Under 40.” Erika directed/produced The Judge, a Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated film about the first woman judge appointed to the Middle East’s Shari’a courts, which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS’ 2018 Independent Lens series. She co-directed/produced In Football We Trust, an Emmy award-winning, feature documentary about young Pacific Islander men pursuing their dreams of playing professional football, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS’ 2016 Independent Lens series. Her work has been supported by IFP, the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Institute, Chicken & Egg, Hot Docs, ITVS, Women in Film, Fork Films, SFFILM, IDFA and BAVC among others.