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Prison Valley: a web documentary

  • 37 Comments

The real Canon City :]

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    My name is Kayla Nicole. I'm 16 years old and have lived in Canon City Colorado since I was in second grade. This documentary is completely one-sided. The creators of this documentary took my home, showed a few pictures of the three ill-kept homes in my town, and called my town "the clean version of Hell." Me and all of my friends are crushed by this portrayal of our town.
     
    Posted by Canongurl
    May 21st 2010
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    I love your cause, really, truly I do... But the way you portrayed my home is so harsh... It hurts to watch this. You only showed a few of the VERY few ill-kept areas of my town. Also, you failed to mention the good things about my town. Trust me, there are many. You can tell me that this is legit, but if you come to Canon City Colorado for yourself, you'll see it for what it truly is. Not gray skys and ill-kept buildings... But churches, and schools, and a place that doesn't live in fear as the documentary portrayed. My home is a place for relaxation, a place of beauty, and a place to raise a family. Everyone who comes, almost always comes again, simply because of the warm and welcoming atmosphere that consumes my town. If the creators ever come to my town again, I pray that they'll talk to people who've lived here most their lives, and that they'll show my lovely town as it is. Thank you.
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    @ Canongurl : Thank you for your comment Kayla.
    I really think the different feeling come from a cultural difference between people from Fremont County and us. We didn't miss the beautifull side of Fremont county. Moreover you can see on this documentary a lot of moments showing the nice scenery of the town and around the town. For instance the movie opens and come back on one of the most beautiful place of Canon City : the famous scenic drive, as the city says : Skyline Drive. Trust me, for us it was like to pay tribute to the huge american landscape. But as you know our film is not a sightseeing brochure. That's not what we wanted to talk about. We always intended to talk about the prison system, which is the first local industry.

    We are aware that you and all people of Fremont County love their place. Nevertheless, David and I decided to choose some moments rather than others according to our story. It's every author's prerogative and part of its work. It comes with a price: accepting the point of view and the critics of others.
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    Thank you again Kayla for your involvement. We know that your County could be a good place for a tourist travel and for figure out the heart of the Colorado countryside. Once again, we know that. But we are journalists. We had a story to do. This story was only about the Prison system. We did our job with passion, with a journalistic approach. Our goal was not to hurt inhabitants feelings.

    Please read our FAQ for more information: http://prisonvalley.arte.tv/en/forums/discussion/139/
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    I have lived here for 7 years. My husband and I think Fremont County is a little slice of paradise. It's not just for tourists. It's a nature lover's playground. While I realize the prisons are an intriguing story, you chose to portray Canon and Florence poorly to give more credit to your story: as if life here is hell (which it is not).

    I have never heard the nickname Prison Valley. Maybe this moniker is used within the system.

    You had lunch with that guy at the only decent place to eat in town and the pizza wasn't that great. There are several chain restaurants that serve "decent" food if you don't like the finer dining at locally owned restaurants such as The Mainstreet Grille, Merlino's Belvedere, La Petit Chablis, The Queen Anne Teahouse etc.

    A good portion of your town shots were of alleys with dumpsters. I believe most towns in this country have alleys with dumpsters. And of course there are rundown, trashy areas of town. I do believe that most towns do have areas such as this.

    While you, as the authors, have the prerogative to portray this county however you like, you lose a lot of credibility by not being accurate. No need to respond as I have no desire to return to this site.
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    Yes, you showed Skyline drive. But there was ominous music and a scary bird crossing the road. You take me for a fool if you think I will believe that your intent in that opening scene was to show the beautiful scenery of the county. You are correct, artistic licences. You are free to make the film you want. As an artist, you intended on illiciting feelings from your viewers...and you have done that. though I am not sure it was the feelings you intended to illicit.
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    Dear JessiDay,

    You'd be sure: we didn't pay for the «scary» bird, as you said. But you'd be also absolutely sure: we really loved the Skyline Drive. Really, really. This is the reason why you could see twice on the movie.
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    @ thstoopids.
    Thank you for your message. I hope you will get back to this site one more time to read my answer. As you could see, David and I came to Canon City and Florence to do a story about a prison system. Not to spent hollidays or free time. We think of the role of the journalists is to be involved, to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare to say things that no else will say. We also think that the role of the authors is to transcend conventional wisdow, to cross "the line". We precisely opened this forum to let everyone leave their testimonies. And one more time we accept the point of view and the critics of others.
    About the title Prison Valley, the alleys way, restaurants... please take a time to read our FAQ : http://prisonvalley.arte.tv/en/forums/discussion/139/our-answers-to-the-residents-of-fremont-county-faq/
    Thanks again.
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    I've lived in this county For a long time. I own a tobacco store (and most of the people on these boards probably know me.) I'm a Prior Service Marine. I was also a CO for a short time. As was my mother and my brother. I am Originally from Chicago and have been to France. I was never treated more RUDELY by any nation as I have by the French. I'll give this to David and Philipe. They have been very polite.

    @ Kayla: Take no discontent in what they have said. And take no comfort in the excuses they give. The truth is not in the words of what they tell us here, but in the documentary they have produced. We live in GOD'S country. We live against some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. Mountains that people come from all walks of life to see. We live in a community of people who would stop on the side of the road to help a broken down truck. In the middle of the night. Be proud that you live in a county where people are honest and about as real as you can get.

    @ David and Phlippe: Are you seriously going to sit and defend your documentary when it is obviously a farce? You went out to find DRAMA. You wanted to create a vision of a small town that looked like the wild west. had "Cowboys". Was dirty. You took advantage of small town people, trusting folks. MY people. yet, you still defend it by saying "It wasn't against the people". Seriously? If this was a documentary on PRISONS...why was only Colorado shown? and on that, why only Fremont County? You know they call the Sterling Facility "The Thunder Dome"? You included no other states. No other prisons. what about Illinois who has several prisons which are notorious for abusing inmates and Misappropriating funds? Honestly, you two, it seems more like you've pinned a VERY conservative county. and you have made everyone in it look bad. Even the Colorado Springs CBS station reported your "Documentary" as being HORRIBLY one sided and completely biased as well as having a majority of untrue facts. While I am all for anyone coming to visit our country and perusing knowledge, it seems you had dark motives indeed.

    If anyone wants to contact me, Feel free. rhodmap@yahoo.com

    I ask both producers to challenge me. Even write me at that address, if you want to. But don't misquote the news or citizens of an AMAZING Country you claim to love...Ooh-Rah...

    Shane Luckey
    Tobacco Corner
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    @ DeVeck
    Dear Shane,
    Of course a great film could be made about the beautifull side of Fremont county, landscapes, mountain, "god's country" etc. But once again, I want to say just a little thing about our documentary. David and I came in Canon City and Florence to understand a system. A prison system which is the first local industry. Because there are 13 prisons in Fremont county, right ! Our documentary is not about judging any of its inhabitants. Make sure we have a lot of respect towards the different people who accepted to be interviewed and the different people we met during our two trips in june and september.
    For us it's a sure sign that the freedom of speech is something that exists in your country. That's why we love America.
    Thanks
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    I cannot believe the ignorance and lack of truth in your documentary. Canon City is truly a beautiful place to live and raise a family. It has exceptional weather and great people. You must have had to really try to get your footage on a gloomy, rainy day and where did you get youreporter from Denver? This is coming from a group of people from France where prison overpopulation is the norm. We, at least, have tried to keep up with the overcrowding by building new facilities. I am deeply angered by this supposed documentary, which I believe means that it is based on the truth, which it is not. You must have had to look far and wide to find the right input to skew this documentary, because you certainly don't have the viewpoint of 99% of the population.
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    I have a background in criminal justice with my masters in administration and my focus on juvenile offenders. At first, I was interested in the subject of the for-profit prisons and the inmate population. It is a legitimate concern in our country and everyone should be educated on it's importance. Unfortunately, you have dramatized the subject with so much bias that there is no possibility of a genuine discussion based on facts.

    I'm not from Colorado - I was fortunate enough to be a tourist in the area a few years back. I watched for awhile before I realized your "Prison Valley" was the same city that I have seen beautiful bridges, rode on trains and enjoyed the mountains, people and the food. Amazing, isn't it, that someone would want to visit and SPEND money in a place you akin to hell? I can't even recall seeing the prisions, let alone there being a horrible focus on them. Your documentary is insulting to the people that live in this beautiful area and it is preposterous and laughable that you consider yourselves journalists. Your portrayal was so inaccurate of this area, it is no wonder that there are people upset. Simply arrogant responses to the townspeople's concerns over your portrayal of them.

    I can tell you this- there is a certain country that I will not be visiting anytime soon as a tourist if you team's attitudes are any indication of that of the rest of the population. Why don't you hit the road and take a visit to where I live - Texas - if you want to see some prisons. They will GLADLY take you on tours for legitimate journalistic work.

    I will not be surprised in the least if you do not post my comments.
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    • David Dufresne Prison Valley Team
    • Jun 16th 2010 (edited Jun 16th 2010)
     
    Dear drron,

    About the weather, frankly... it's not our fault, uh? Please, find our answsers to all your comments in our FAQ:
    http://prisonvalley.arte.tv/en/forums/discussion/139/

    About the overpopulation, here, in french prisons, you are absolutely right. This is the big problem in France, the major one.
    Please read this and you’ll see how it is awful: http://prisonvalley.arte.tv/en/forums/discussion/42/the-state-of-frances-prisons/

    Thank you
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    @ SteveandLeslie Smith

    Dear Steven and Leslie,

    You can see your comment above and here is my response. One more time, our goal was not to hurt inhabitants feelings. It was just to understand a place surrounded by several prisons. Because, as we've already said, building 13 prisons in one place have an economic purpose. I'm not surprise that we can't recall seeing the prisons. Because as you wrote, you visited the area as a tourist. It remembered me that Christie Donner, the Director of the Colorado Justice Reform Coalition, said in the documentary "there is a reason why our prisons are so far aways : out of sight, out of mind". It hearkens back to this notion of banishment in other times..." Because with the exception of the Territorial Correctional Facility which is located in Canon City downtown, most of the 13 prisons of Fremont County are located outside the towns in the middle of the gorgeous landscape of Fremont county.

    I want to add just one little thing, I don't believe that ours responses to the townspeople are arrogants. David and I are doing our best to give to people for an answer in order to explain our journalistic approach.

    Thank you for your comment.
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    Actually, the real Fremont County is much worse than this film portrayed; I was actually shocked at how positively the crew portrayed the county. Now, of course they were only able to stay for a week and I suppose there is only so much darkness one can be exposed to in that short a time. Had they stayed a year, or two, they'd have presented a far darker documentary- and consequently, a far more accurate one. If you think rain clouds and alleys are the darkest things in Fremont County, I'm afraid you missed out on the real juicy material for your film.
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    I think this documentary is something everyone needs to watch it is the truth and yes sometimes truth hurts. There definately had to be a reason behind putting 13 prisons in one town and let me tell you it wasnt for the towns people!
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    You call yourselves journalist but you only give one side. This trash is terrible. U.S. prisions treat their inmates far better then almost any other country. The inmates actually have more rights then law abiding citizens. You were just trying to make the whole town look bad and then hide behind the fact that you are supposed to be journalists. Try sharing all the facts not just the ones that help your case.
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    i am really upset with this video....i grew up here in canon city and Florence, and am a current resident... I think the people of canon city would all be alil put off buy this video...we have an awesome community that looks out for its fellow people...and calling us a clean version of hell and and calling us a dark town is not good journalism... its insulting to the people that have lived in canon city for years....canon city has such a rich history and is a lot more than prisons...on top of that...the people in the prisons most likely are not even from canon city and Florence...they are from all around the country and state... the people working in the prisons (making a good living) are probably the only people in the prison form Fremont county. In a way I am proud of the prisons they provide a stable and good economy. The prisons don't really effect us otherwise...at least not as negative as described in the video... We don't have a dark energy.. I love it here because of how generous and polite the people are...Please the next time you make a "documentary" try to leave out the opinions and silly antics to scare people... Be a GOOD journalist and tell it like it is...not whats more exciting...
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    • David Dufresne Prison Valley Team
    • Aug 28th 2012 (edited Aug 28th 2012)
     
    Dear chellinator

    The key point is what you say: "In a way I am proud of the prisons they provide a stable and good economy"

    By the way, please, find our answsers to all your comments in our FAQ:
    http://prisonvalley.arte.tv/en/forums/discussion/139/
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    How interesting that from reading all these comments and reactions, with the majority being full of indignant pride for the town, that it can all be interpreted as a good response. People are defending prison systems and how prisoners are treated! Maybe this is because prisons have become an industry that the humanitarian concern has arisen from unionism, but I think it also reflects that although prisoners are banished they aren't removed from society anymore, they exist in a new emerging community built by industry. Then again I am a cynic... maybe it's just that more than ever before there is a substantial percentage of society behind bars, so many in fact that they are no longer out of mind.
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    Wow. I'm glad to hear the 'other sides' of the story, and grateful for the team for putting them up anyway, although they keep having to defend themselves.

    My main takeaway is - as an interactive model allowing 'other voices' to be heard, this works! I was glad to hear that Fremont County is ALSO beautiful, and warm, and honest and that there are many good people there. This is proof that the interactive documentary challenges a single viewpoint... and a reminder that any documentary IS going to be from a particular angle rather than give you the full 'objective' truth of a place. I am not surprised that the place is misrepresented. I come from a country - Singapore- that is also often misrepresented in the American media, and what this reminds me is that we need to be critically aware of the biases of our information sources and take into account the message they are trying to portray.

    I thank the team for their good work and applaudable efforts, and I agree with their story; yet I also sympathize with the locals for their town having been represented in a light that is less than flattering. I'm sure it's very beautiful, and I do wish I could visit one day!
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    Is a very interecante history but it's hard for me to decide on the innocence or guilt of Doug, let's see after I see the house with few details to realize the prosecution of Doug, I enjoyed reading about your routine.

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