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Picture House In Pelham Screens 'They Call Us Monsters,' With Director Q&A

"They Call Us Monsters" powerfully blurs the line between childhood and adulthood, humanity and evil.
"They Call Us Monsters" powerfully blurs the line between childhood and adulthood, humanity and evil. Photo Credit: Contributed

PELHAM, N.Y. --  The Picture House Regional Film Center in Pelham will host a special advance screening of the new documentary "They Call Us Monsters" on Saturday, Jan. 21.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with the film's director Ben Lear.

The documentary is set in California where violent juveniles between the ages of 14 and 17 can be tried as adults depending on the seriousness of the crime. These young teens are accused of heinous crimes--murders and attempted murders--that leave their victims' families shattered.

The documentary takes viewers into The Compound, a high-security facility in the middle of Sylmar Juvenile Hall in California, where they are introduced to three such offenders; the juveniles tell the stories of their lives through a movie script.

"They Call Us Monsters" powerfully blurs the line between childhood and adulthood, humanity and evil, according to a release from the Picture House.

Following the screening, the Picture House's Director of Programming, Marketing, and Theater Management Clayton Bushong will moderate a discussion and Q&A with the film's director Ben Lear.

Lear – son of legendary television producer Norman Lear -- graduated from New York University in 2010 with a degree in music composition.

As his senior recital, Lear wrote and performed his folk opera "Lillian," about a man who travels to the great pacific garbage patch to reclaim all he’s lost, with a 20-piece orchestra and light show.

Upon the "Lilian" album's release, he partnered with Plastic Pollution Coalition and 5Gyres to raise awareness for plastic pollution. This work has led Lear to performances at TED and the UN.

As a result of shooting this film, Lear sits on the advisory board of InsideOUT Writers and is an ally member within the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, teaching a weekly writing class within the Compound and mentoring former juvenile offenders upon reentry.

Tickets to the special screening and discussion are $15 for general admission, $12 for students, seniors and members; tickets are available at www.thepicturehouse.org or at the box office, 175 Wolfs Lane, Pelham.

The screening will begin at 4 p.m.

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