Herman’s House Trailer (2012)
Once a slave-breeding estate and now known as the Alcatraz of the South, Angola prison sprawls over 18,000 Louisiana acres and houses over 5,000 prisoners. For almost 40 years Herman Wallace, a Black Panther member falsely convicted of murdering a prison guard, has been kept in a tiny cell in solitary confinement. In 2001, when young artist and activist Jackie Sumell asked him to collaborate on an art project by imagining his ideal house, it was the beginning of an extraordinary friendship and a journey into the racialized brutality of the American justice system. Shot over five years, the film follows Jackie and Herman—whose voice we hear only by phone—as they plan the house for an exhibition in NYC, the exhibition’s successful opening and Jackie’s trip to a post-Katrina Louisiana where Herman’s sister, his lawyer and released Black Panther members bear witness to an extraordinary survivor of injustice.