By Jordan Mazza

 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) -- Maison Teixeira was one year old when his dad went to prison.

"My dad said it was just 'naughty school,' just like a school you go to when you do bad things," he said. "And maybe second or third grade, I started realizing he was in prison. That was kind of a hard hit."

Now 14 years old, Teixeira says he chooses to focus on the positive.

"My dad being in prison has obviously affected my life tremendously," he said. "But it's also led me to this great experience with the film."

Pawtucket–based documentary filmmaker Denali Tiller says her film "Tre, Maison, Dasan" follows three boys from different families, and aims to personalize the conversation about criminal justice.

"When we think about incarceration we mostly think about the people who are actually behind bars," Tiller said. "But there are many people who serve time at the same time with those people, and those are really their families and communities."

Tiller says the film gives a voice to children.

"And so my role really became to hand the film over to them and allow them to tell their own stories and really elevate their voices in these conversations."

Those conversations resonated with audiences and resulted in awards at the Rhode Island International Film Festival.

" It's one of the best documentaries we've seen in any of our submissions," said festival program director Shawn Quirk. "And it was really wonderful to see a film like that made right here in Rhode Island."

And Maison says it's wonderful to help give a voice to other kids like him.

"Kids whose parents are in prison who've seen the film – it's been life–changing for them."

"Tre, Maison, Dasan" is playing at the Providence Children's Film Festival Saturday, February 23rd.

 

© WLNE / ABC 6 2019