Underground Film Journal

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On Tour: Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo

By Mike Everleth ⋅ August 24, 2010

Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo

Bradley Beesley’s documentary Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo is going on a cross-country screening tour from September to November and will play at theaters, and — most appropriately — actual prisons! Plus, Beesley will go behind bars several of the correctional facilities to talk with the inmates at post-screening Q&A’s.

The film chronicles the 2007 prison rodeo held by the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, an event that was started as an annual tradition back in 1940. In 2006, history was made when, for the first time ever, women were allowed to participate in the rodeo. During Beesley’s filming, women were again involved in the rodeo, getting right out onto the field with the men to face down a bunch of angry bulls.

2008 would then be the last year the penitentiary would hold the rodeo. While you might think women would be opposed to possibly be kicked in the face by a wild animal, the participating female inmates loved the experience as it would be one of the few times they could feel free during an adult lifetime spent behind bars.

After screening at the 2009 SXSW and AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival, as well as the BFI London, Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo did air on HBO in the U.S. and on Channel 4 in London.

For this tour, the film will have week-long runs at the IFC Center in NYC and the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin before heading off for one to two night screenings in cities such as Austin, San Francisco, New Orleans, Seattle, Portland, Denver and more.

Below is a confirmed list of screening venues, but new dates will be added to the tour. To find out if it’s coming to your town or prison, please visit the official website of the film’s distributor Cinema Purgatorio. And for more info on the film, please visit its official site. Plus, watch the trailer below the screening dates.

Sep. 11
Blue Sunshine

Sep. 17 — 23
New York City
IFC Center

Sep. 17 — 23
Austin, TX
Alamo Drafthouse

Sept. 24 — 25
New Orleans
Venue TBA

Sept. 27
Private Screening
Las Cruces, NM
New Mexico Correctional Facility

Sept. 28
Tempe, AZ
Madcap Theater

Sept. 30
San Francisco, CA
Red Vic Movie House

Oct. 4
Bellingham, WA
Pickford Cinema

Oct. 5 — 7
Seattle, WA
Northwest Film Forum

Oct. 7
Tulsa, OK
University of Tulsa

Oct. 8
Portland, OR
Hollywood Theatre

Oct. 8 — 14
Denver, CO
Starz Film Center

Nov. 16
Columbia, MO
Ragtag Cinema

Nov. 17
Kansas City, MO
Screenland Crossroads