We are pleased to invite you to a special screening of a unique, unreleased film - “Cast The First Stone.” It documents the production of the Passion Play within the walls of Angola Prison. You will come to know the inmates of Angola and the Louisiana Correctional Institution For Women who put themselves into the parts of the story of Jesus’ last days. You will witness the persistent hope of the director, Gary Tyler, who was the youngest American to ever be given the death sentence (for a crime he did not commit.)
We showed “Cast The First Stone” at CVUMC a few years ago. If you saw it then, you know that it is a moving account of grace and redemption that the story brings to the players and the hard life experiences of the cast that infuse the story with truth. Gary Tyler directed the play as part of his ongoing desire to live a purposeful life and to help others in any circumstances. Fortunately, he has recently been released from Angola and will be present at our screening on November 3rd. He will have a few words to say and will be available to answer questions. We hope that you will come to see the film and to meet and hear from Gary. We will be collecting a free-will offering to as a thank you to Gary and his work.
We’ll be showing “Cast The First Stone” upstairs in the sanctuary. Doors will open at 7 and the film sill start at 7:30. There will be coffee and refreshments and time for Q & A afterwards. Please plan on being present for this meaningful event.
Years ago, I was corresponding with a Native American in prison who was trying hard to facilitate him and others being able to do Indigenous ceremonies. (e.g., smudging). I found him some contact info. for someone who probably would've helped, but a few years later I learned that the prison never passed it on to him.
In more recent years I've become interested in prison issues in general.
Prisoner Bobby Wallace portrayed Jesus in the documentary, "Cast the First Stone."
Friday evening’s screening at Crescenta Valley United Methodist Church was the California premiere of “Cast the First Stone.” Executive producer David Deniger came from Dallas to introduce the film and participate in the panel discussion afterwards. At least four dozen people in the audience heard him explain what keeps drawing him back to Angola Prison in Louisiana to make documentaries, and soon we saw for ourselves.
I was struck by the stellar qualities of all of the individuals interviewed on camera, the director and the other inmates playing the central characters. And not only by their talent, but also by the clarity of their awareness and vision. Most of them were serving life sentences, some for decades already. With inmates from the Louisiana Correctional Institution for Women, they rehearsed the Passion Play for two years, each prisoner finding his or her own redemption in the production and the messages from the Gospel. Many are Muslims. I'm no Christian, but now I'd love to see the two-hour cut Deniger said he could make of just the play itself.
The theater director I mentioned -- Gary Tyler, who was released from Angola last year after serving 42 years for a wrongful conviction -- will speak after next Friday's screening.