Loading Events

Part of Doc Stories film series

40 Years a Prisoner

Directed by Tommy Oliver

USA | Documentary | 110

Ticket buyers and pass holders will have access to stream this film within a limited window of time, and views must be completed within 24 hours of starting. The live Q&A will take place on this page, and a video recording will be posted here shortly afterward. Visit our FAQ for more info.


Film Available to Stream

Thu, Dec 3 at 12:01 am – Sun, Dec 6 at 11:59 pm PST

Live Q&A

Thu, Dec 3 at 7:00 pm PST

Streaming Window Ended


Director Tommy Oliver and Mike Africa, Jr. are expected for the live Q&A on December 3 at 7:00 pm PST.


The 1978 siege on the MOVE organization’s communal house in Philadelphia resulted in the death of one police officer and the life-sentence convictions of nine MOVE members. Among these nine are the mother and father of Mike Africa, Jr., who has spent much of his life trying to secure his parents’ release. Tommy Oliver’s riveting documentary dovetails the present-day story with that of the siege itself, revealing the racist motives of then-mayor (and former police commissioner) Frank Rizzo. With remarkable archival footage set alongside Mr. Africa’s tireless legal efforts, the film harrowingly demonstrates the long and ruthless arm of police brutality against revolutionary movements and communities of color.

“Viewed through the eyes of one man who has seen his family ripped apart by prejudice, 40 Years a Prisoner is a searing examination of the human costs of systemic racism.” —Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

Director Tommy Oliver

Tommy Oliver is a director, producer, cinematographer, and writer. His narrative feature debut, 1982, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2013. He co-created the OWN series Black Love, which premiered in 2017 and became the network’s most widely viewed unscripted program. His photos of Black Lives Matter protests in Hollywood this summer have become some of the seminal images of this movement. Speaking about his field of work, he says, “The reason I’m in entertainment is that I believe in its transformative power. The power to inspire, the power to incite, the power to challenge. That said, change doesn’t happen by sitting by, and we have a commitment to the next generation as a duty to pay for those who fought, bled, and died to get us to where we are today.”

Film Details

Language English

Year 2020

Runtime 110

Country USA

Director Tommy Oliver

Producer Tommy Oliver

Editor Tommy Oliver, Joe Kehoe

Cinematographer Tommy Oliver

Music John Jennings Boyd