Film Preview: “I Come From”

As a director and producer, Robby Henson has had a long career as a storyteller in the genres of fiction and nonfiction.


From his Civil War-era western “The Pharaoh’s Army” starring Kris Kristofferson to the Billy Bob Thornton crime thriller “The Badge,” Henson has explored themes of redemption in his work, but for his latest film, he was able to let the subjects do it themselves.

“I Come From,” a new documentary by Henson, will play the Winder Cultural Arts center on Friday at 7:30 p.m. as part of the South Arts Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers. The screening is free, and Henson will be in attendance for an audience Q&A discussion after the movie.

Focusing on six incarcerated poets and playwrights, “I Come From” highlights creativity and positive change within America’s overpopulated corrections system by presenting individuals who are using art and self-expression to change the course of their lives.

“I write so I don’t lose my mind,” says Clinton Brewer, one of the inmates interviewed in the documentary. “I grab pieces of paper at work and paper towels, and I write poetry. Writing is everything to me. It’s my creativity. It’s my escape. It’s how I fly.”

Henson’s accomplishments in the documentary genre include five award-winning films including “Spalding Gray: A Life in Progress” and “Trouble Behind,” about a 1919 race riot in Kentucky. Both films aired on PBS.

“The aspect I appreciate most about (‘I Come From’) is that it gives the opportunity for incarcerated artists to tell their own stories,” Henson says in his director’s statement. “Often times, others have told their story; the system, the courts, the prosecutors. In (the film), these artists get to express who they are in their own words.”

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