Women on the Outside

: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Production


An intimate portrait of family life, Women on the Outside follows 29-year-old Kristal Bush as she strives to maintain love under the shadow of incarceration.


Women on the Outside is a deeply American story about how mass incarceration has shaped the lives of women who support loved ones behind bars. Told through the eyes of Kristal Bush, a young Philadelphian who has watched nearly all the men she loves get locked away, the film illuminates the struggle that Kristal and her extended network of women face as they try to break prison’s grip on their lives.


Part vérité documentary, part family album, this film braids together the dramatic and mundane to give a portrait of lives remade by incarceration--and story shared by millions of Americans but rarely through the female perspective.

The United States imprisons some 2.2 million people on any given day. But little attention has been paid to the ways it shapes the lives of women who support them. By one estimate, a quarter of women in the United States, and half of African-American women, have had a loved one behind bars.

That reality plays out daily in Philadelphia, which has among the highest per-capita rates of incarceration among large American cities. Women's paychecks go to cover prison commissaries. Their weekends get spent on long trips to faraway prisons for visits. And when loved ones come home, upheaval often comes with them. 


Zara Katz - Director/Producer/DP

Zara Katz is an independent photo editor and filmmaker for editorial, documentary and branded content. She brings a narrative approach to still and moving images, specializing in crafting character-driven visual stories. Collaboration is key to her work. She is the co-creator of @EverydayIncarceration, a collaborative Instagram feed looking at 40 years of mass incarceration in the United States and “Women on the Outside,” an ongoing multimedia project. These projects have been supported by the Magnum Foundation and Brown Center for Media Innovation and have been exhibited at The Philadelphia Museum of Art and Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Photoville in New York and FOTODOKS in Munich, Germany. Katz has worked at The New York Times Lens blog, Time magazine and Newsweek. In 2018, she was the Director of Still Photography Production for Lifetime/A+E Networks special digital project, “Her America: 50 Women 50 States.” Most recently, she was the Senior Photography Producer on a collaborative project with Getty Images, Dove and Girlgaze to create a new collection of licensable images and the current Dove campaign.

Lisa Riordan Seville - Director/Producer/DP

Lisa Riordan Seville is an independent reporter and producer in Brooklyn, New York. Her stories have appeared on NBC News programs, NBCNews.com, Lifetime, The Guardian U.S., BuzzFeed News, WNYC New York Public Radio and The Nation magazine, among others. Her work has been supported by the Open Society Foundations, the Investigative Fund, the Center for Health Journalism and the Magnum Foundation, among others. In 2013, she contributed to the Peabody-award winning "In Plain Sight: Poverty in America"; her 2017 story about race and homeownership for BuzzFeed News received the Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. With Zara Katz she runs @EverydayIncarceration, an Instagram feed that tells visual stories of incarceration in the United States. Their ongoing multimedia project, “Women on the Outside,” has been exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Brooklyn’s Photoville and FOTODOKS in Munich, Germany, and featured on the New York Times’ Instagram feed.

Kiara C. Jones - Producer/Writer

Kiara C Jones is an award-winning producer, director, writer and the proprietor of Cultivated Films LLC, which champions diverse storytelling and creates sustainable financial models for independent filmmakers. Kiara has been widely awarded for her direction and production on narrative features, shorts and documentaries, including an Independent Spirit Award nomination for producing SHE’S LOST CONTROL (Berlinale, CICAE, SXSW) and the Directors Guild of America Grand Jury Award for directing her debut feature CHRISTMAS WEDDING BABY (Urbanworld, VIACOM, BET, Netflix). 21 AND DONE, the feature documentary she directed illuminating the plight of children aging out of the foster care system, received Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Award-qualifying Reel Sisters Film Festival. Kiara has also participated in a number of labs and fellowships including IFP/Blackhouse Producing Fellow, IFP’s Emerging Narrative Lab, the Trans Atlantic Partners International Co-Production Symposium, Sony Pictures Television Diverse Director’s Program and is a 2019 BRIO Award and Bronx Council of the Arts Grant recipient.


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