I had a very strong reaction to this announcement. Having been around the block a few times and having worked with the mentally ill in a previous life, I feel that there needs to be a different response to mentally ill individuals not only by police but in general.
I will get off my soapbox and let you have a look at this important film.
Ernie & Joe set to Premiere at SXSW Film Festival
Ernie & Joe follows two police officers with the San Antonio Texas Police Department who are diverting people away from jail and into mental health treatment, one 911 call at a time.
ERNIE & JOE is an intimate portrait of two Texas police officers who are helping change the way police respond to mental health calls. The film takes audiences on a personal journey, weaving together their experiences during their daily encounters with people in crisis. These two officers are not your everyday cops. They are part of the San Antonio Police Department’s 10-person Mental Health Unit.
ERNIE & JOE has received generous support from IDA Enterprise Fund, Fork Films, The Lovell Foundation, The Texas Mental Health Collaborative, and LEF Foundation.
I believe strongly that my own contribution can be in raising awareness of tough societal issues through relatable characters and their stories. While making my last film, MOTHERS OF BEDFORD, it became evident to me that there were many people with untreated mental illness sitting behind bars. Upon learning of the innovative work of the SAPD mental health unit and meeting Ernie and Joe in person I felt compelled to make this film. Their jail diversion work is humane and desperately needed to improve not only the health of the mentally ill, but also of their families. We have seen many films illustrating the multitude of sins in police departments across the country. ERNIE & JOE introduces us to officers trying and succeeding in doing it right.
About Jennifer McShane
ERNIE & JOE is Jenifer’s third feature documentary (SXSW 2019). She spent years visiting the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility to make her last documentary, MOTHERS OF BEDFORD (Hot Docs Film Festival, 2011), which reveals the impact of incarceration on incarcerated mothers and their children. Winner of the 2013 Director’s Award at the Social Justice Film Festival, selected by the U.S. Department’s American Film Showcase to tour internationally, it was broadcast on PBS stations nationwide as part of the America ReFramed documentary series. Jenifer’s first film, A LEAP OF FAITH (Sundance Film Festival, 1996), which follows a group of parents in Belfast, Northern Ireland as they open an integrated school for Catholic and Protestant children was broadcast on PBS, and screened broadly on European television.
More on Ernie and Joe
DIRECTED BY JENIFER MCSHANE
EXECUTIVE PRODUCED BY ANDREA MEDITCH
World Premiere – Documentary Feature Competition – 2019 SXSW Film Festival
2019 SXSW Film Festival Screenings:
Saturday, March 9th at 11:30 AM at Alamo Ritz – World Premiere
Sunday, March 10th at 3:00 PM at Alamo Lamar
Friday, March 15th at 6:00 PM at Alamo Lamar
SXSW Schedule Link https://schedule.sxsw.com/2019/films/2008729