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: Documentary
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Production


Tonie Willis, formerly incarcerated, is on a mission to get a bill passed in Pennsylvania supporting the humane release of terminally ill incarcerated women. It’s a difficult and emotional battle, but Tonie, using her compassion and wit, is up for the challenge.


Tonie Willis runs Ardella’s House, a vital community organization supporting former and currently incarcerated women. Tonie, formerly incarcerated herself, now 63-year-old, has begun a journey to win over Republican and Democratic state legislators to pass a bill in the state of Pennsylvania supporting the humane release of elderly terminally ill incarcerated women to their families for hospice care. It will be a difficult battle, but Tonie, using her compassion and wit, is up for the challenge.


We are setting out to make a cinema verite film. We will let the type of film come to fruition naturally – ending up with either a feature film or a limited series. There are multiple ways to market and release this type of project to a target audience. Our goal is to honor – honestly and without holding back – the life of Tonie Willis. Tonie is a force of nature. She is 63-years-old, full of life, loves to laugh, overflowing with compassion, and as tough as nails. When Tonie asked about a documentary to help promote her cause, I honestly hesitated for a moment because I thought a project focusing on the terminally ill might be awfully sad. But then my thoughts shifted to Tonie and her passion, strength, and – it can’t be understated here – her human and driving spirit. It will be Tonie who helps us not look away when the situations get tough. It will be Tonie who matter-of-factly finds the simple joys in a situation. Too often we turn our heads away from the elderly, the sick, the incarcerated and we miss the lessons that can be learned by all of us to life a better live. This film will not look away. For more details on Ardella's House please see this link:


George LaVoo - Director
George LaVoo has produced, written, and directed films for HBO, PBS, and the Sundance Channel. His films have been selected for festivals around the world, including Berlin, Venice, Toronto, and three appearances at Sundance. He is the Producer and co-screenwriter of the ground-breaking "Real Women Have Curves," winner of the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for Best Film and Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting. “Real Women Have Curves” was inducted into the prestigious Library of Congress's National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. He directed "A Dog Year" for HBO Films starring Jeff Bridges, who won an Emmy Nomination for Best Actor. Variety Magazine presented Mr. LaVoo with a "Ten Producers to Watch Award" at the Cannes Film Festival. Other works include: screenwriter of the feature film "Blood Monkey" starring Oscar-winner F. Murray Abram; director/producer of the true-crime documentary "By Reason of Insanity" for TruTV; and co-writer and producer of the Joyce Carol Oat's feature film, "Getting to Know You" that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2019, Mr. LaVoo won a New York Emmy Award for directing the social justice web series “We Speak New York.” Most recently, he produced the feature film, “Inside the Rain,” starring Rosie Perez.

Jackson Warner Lewis - Director of Photography
Jackson Warner Lewis’ interest in photographing tornados skating across the Oklahoma plains and the people who chase them led to a passion for cinematography and storytelling. Now living in New York for over ten years, Jackson has directed photography on six feature films, which include: SWAN SONG (Magnolia Pictures) and SHE PARADISE (Samuel Goldwyn).


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