Common Ground

The Sentence: Rudy Valdez

A virtual screening and live conversation with Valdez and Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper


12 p.m. Eastern / 9 a.m. Pacific

Filmmaker Rudy Valdez joins Rail Editor-at-Large Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper for a conversation on his film The Sentence. We conclude with a reading of poems by Amiri Baraka.

In this talk

Film poster for The Sentence.
Courtesy Rudy Valdez, Park Pictures, and HBO

Register to receive a link to join our live conversation with Rudy Valdez and Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper at 12pm ET, as well as a link and password that will grant access to the film throughout the day on Thursday, January 6.

Watch the trailer →

More info on the film →

Rudy Valdez

A portrait of filmmaker Rudy Valdez
Photo by Nadia Quinn
Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Rudy Valdez is committed to creating social, cultural, and political stories through a cinematic and meaningful lens. He is the director of The Sentence (HBO, Park Pictures). Shot and directed by Valdez over the course of a decade, this feature documentary tells the very personal story of his sister’s plight in the criminal justice system while tackling subjects like mandatory minimums and sentencing reform. For this work, the filmmaker won the 2019 Primetime Emmy Award for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking, US Documentary Audience Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and was a 2018 Critics Choice Documentary Awards Best New Director nominee.

Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper

A photo of Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper
Community builder Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper served as Senior Minister of Judson Memorial Church from 2006 to 2021. She was formerly at Coral Gables Congregational Church in Miami and before that at Yale University, and teaches leadership at the Hartford Seminary. As an elder, she is passionately concerned about leaving the next generation well-prepared for all they have to face. She has written over 35 books including Approaching End of Life: A Practical and Spiritual Guide (2015), Grace at Table: Small Spiritual Solutions to Large Material Problems, Solving Everything (2013), to her most recent book I Heart Francis: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer (2016), among many others. She is an Editor-at-Large at the Rail.

The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poetry reading, and we’re fortunate to have Elizabeth Lothian reading.

Elizabeth Lothian

A portrait of Elizabeth Lothian
Writer Elizabeth Lothian is the Social Media Manager at the Brooklyn Rail and an Assistant Editor at Guernica. Her work has appeared in Bookforum, Lit Hub, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in Nonfiction from The New School where she was a Creative Writing Fellow.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.