NewsA Long Way Back - a new international film

Professor Laura Piacentini, School of Social Work and Social Policy, is currently leading a major ESRC project, “In the Gulag’s Shadow: Producing, Consuming and Perceiving Prisons in the Former USSR on penal culture in Russia and Kazakhstan”. The project is championed by a team of 15, and Professor Piacentini is delighted to announce that they have produced a film to showcase the project findings, a great success story for the University, Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences and UKRI funded international projects during COVID-19.

‘A Long Way Back’ is the first film of its kind on how punishment is ‘consumed’ by former offenders as they exit prison in former USSR countries. It charts the lives of several former prisoners who are experiencing a range of addictions, and it follows them as they enter religious communities for comfort and forgiveness.

This poignant film was made by a brave and tenacious team of researchers alongside filmmaker, Dimitriy Omelchenko, during a complex COVID-19 context in Russia and Kazakhstan, where the project is focused. It is a remarkable outcome to be able to present an international film on prisons and punishment during a global pandemic.

A screening and Q&A session with the Director took place at QUB’s Film Festival on Wednesday 23rd June.

You can watch the film on YouTube here