Abandoned by her alcoholic and crack-addicted teenaged mother, Cyntoia was passed around from caretaker to caretaker as an infant, and finally adopted into a family with a loving mother but tough father. Shaped by bad genetics (several of her birth relatives have suffered from addiction and mental disorders), bad luck, and bad choices, then 16-year-old Cyntoia was a runaway forced into prostitution by an abusive boyfriend. On the night of August 6, 2004, she was picked up by a 43-year-old man, went back to his home and, claiming she feared for her life, shot and killed him.
"Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story," a deep look into the troubled life of Cyntoia Brown, who is currently serving life in prison, will premiere on Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens, Tuesday March, 1 at 11 p.m. on KUED Channel 7.
Filmed over the course of six years and featuring interviews with Cyntoia, her family, doctors, psychologists, lawyers, and others involved in her case, the filmmaker delves into Cyntoia's life in an attempt to answer a very basic question: Why? Heartbreaking and disturbing, "Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story" pushes aside assumptions and forces us to look into a startling mirror that reveals some important social issues.
Filmmaker Daniel H. Birman has produced documentaries for the National Geographic Channel and for Discovery Health Channel. Birman is also on the faculty at USC's Annenberg School of Journalism, where he teaches long-form nonfiction production.
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