Posted by Larry Gleeson

Inmates at Folsom Prison participate in a four day therapy session together with three men from the outside in a scene from the award winning documentary film – THE WORK  – DIRECTED BY JAIRUS MCLEARY and CO-DIRECTED BY GETHIN ALDOUS.  Photo Credit:  The Orchard



AUGUST 14, 2017  – LOS ANGELES – The critically acclaimed documentary feature The Work, from director Jairus McLeary and co-director Gethin Aldous, will hit theaters starting October 20th in New York and October 27th in Los Angeles with more cities following. The Orchard and First Look Media’s new entertainment studio Topic acquired North American rights to the film in April this year.

The film from the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary Feature at South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival 2017 and took home the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017.

The Work ( has screened at the SF DocFest, AFI Docs 2017, Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2017, Traverse City Film Festival 2017, Seattle International Film Festival 2017, Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival 2017, BAM Cinématek 2017 and Melbourne International Film Festival. It will screen as part of the Rooftop Films 2017 – Summer Series on August 18.

Set inside a single room in Folsom Prison, The Work (88 minutes) follows three men from outside as they participate in a four-day group therapy retreat with level-four convicts. Over the four days, each man in the room takes his turn at delving deep into his past. The raw and revealing process that the incarcerated men undertake exceeds the expectations of the free men, ripping them out of their comfort zones and forcing them to see themselves and the prisoners in unexpected ways. The Work offers a powerful and rare look past the cinder block walls, steel doors and the dehumanizing tropes in our culture to reveal a movement of change and redemption that transcends what we think of as rehabilitation.

IndieWire’s chief film critic Eric Kohn said The Work is: “The most powerful group therapy session ever caught on camera.” And “A compelling emotional display, one that captures masculinity at its most innocent and leads to profound displays of compassion.” 

And Variety‘s chief film critic Peter Debruge said the film offers a “remarkable vérité potrait.” “This documentary makes clear that in its own special way, the “work” is working,” said Debruge. “The Work‘s power comes in watching how well the prisoners (many of whom have been through the program multiple times before) adapt to helping” an outsider through his own personal catharsis.”

Jairus McLeary is a court videographer and filmmaker. The Work is his first documentary. He spent over a decade as a volunteer for the four-day therapeutic workshop, ultimately gaining the trust of the convicts in order to film. Gethin Aldous directs motion capture for a major video gaming company. After his own volunteer experience at Folsom he joined forces with McLeary. This is his second documentary feature.

The Work showcases the unique approach of the non-profit Inside Circle, which helps prisoners and parolees heal from the inside. According to the organization, The Inside Circle Foundation focuses on reducing prison violence, lowering recidivism, and guiding inmates through healing that allows for meaningful lives after release.

The Work is a production of Blanketfort Media and a McLeary Brothers film.



A Release by The Orchard

Blanketfort Media Presents

A McLeary Brothers Film

Director: Jairus McLeary

Co-Director: Gethin Aldous

Editor: Amy Foote

Producers: Alice Henty, Jairus McLeary, Eon McLeary, Miles McLeary, Angela Sostre

Executive Producers: James McLeary, Rob Allbee, Gethin Aldous

Director of Photography: Arturo Santamaria

Production sound recordist: Thomas Curley

(Press materials provided by David Magdael & Associates)