JustUs is a 52-minute documentary about former prisoners’ successful reentry into society, co-produced and narrated by a current prisoner. Set in Des Moines, IA, it centers the stories of Black Iowans, previously incarcerated for serious crimes, who managed to rehabilitate themselves and each other, ultimately reintegrating and contributing positively to society.


For over two decades, Iowa has consistently had one of the highest racial disparities in incarceration. JustUs shows counter-stereotypical narratives of those most impacted by that disparity. Beyond just surviving, our subjects are thriving – giving back to their communities, advocating for social change, and supporting others’ rehabilitation. These stories are set into a larger social context through interviews with local experts—a prominent journalist, two state legislators, a lawyer, a group of social workers, a restorative justice leader, and other community organizers.


Check out our trailer here, and our website here.


We have been awarded a grant in the amount of $25,000 from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. We just finished filming, with over 75 hours of footage. We are now raising the final completion funds to get us through post-production. You can see updates on our Facebook and Instagram.


We have been in production since early 2019 and are aiming for June 2021 release. Meanwhile, the fight for racial justice has been evolving nationwide, and current and former prisoners have a crucial role to play in this historic moment. Help us finish production, share our voices, and make an impact!


You can support the film by donating through the link below, or by mailing a check to: Des Moines Film Society, 304 15th St., Suite 201, Des Moines, IA 50309. Please note on your check that the donation is for JustUs.