In The Balance



"In The Balance" is a multi-platform project that seeks to create a learning space that effectively responds to the "school-to-prison pipeline." The audience engagement campaign and game is a co-extension of a documentary project that explores a case wherein a Tennessee family was murdered and six Kentuckians were sentenced to life in prison when they were teenagers. Our goal is to provide a learning space where players may critically engage with broader issues relating to incarceration on a personal level, while also developing a sophisticated understanding of the unfathomably complicated criminal court system.

The documentary has received funding support from the University of Southern California's Labyrinth Research Initiative (funded by the Annenberg School for Communication), the International Documentary Association (via an A&E Indie Films production grant), and the Pacific Pioneer Fund for emerging documentary filmmakers.

Awards & Presentations

In The Balance has been chosen as one of eight projects to attend Working Film's 2009 Content + Intent Documentary Institute at MASS MoCA. In addition, the project received a generous grant from The Fledgling Fund for the continued development of "In The Balance”. In June 2008, we were invited to the Bay Area Video Coalition’s Producers Institute for New Media Technologies (an event sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation) where nine documentary teams prototyped innovative technology projects to engage and build audiences for social issue storytelling, education and activism. There, we began developing a multi-platform project where the documentary and an online browser game coalesce to create an experience where participants engage in content about felony conviction, plea negotiating and serving time in prison. The Institute culminated with a presentation to various funders, including the Sundance Institute, ITVS and the MacArthur Foundation.

South By Southwest Interactive Festival

Interactive Documentaries: A Multidimensional Narrative

Sheffield Documentary Festival 2009

Documentary Games: Playing with the Truth?

Digital Arts New Media (DANM)

University of California Santa Cruz

the art of COLLABORATION Symposium


The Washington Post

"Not The Usual Game Application"

Second Life Machinima Journalist Draxtor Despres on serious gaming