Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall has been nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Documentary Short Subject.

What people are saying...


- Andrew O'Hehir, film critic

"Terribly CAPTIVATING. GALVANIZING. GRIPPING." "SHOULD WIN" the Academy Award for Best Doc Short Subject.

- SLANT Magazine

"The category's most formally interesting nominee."

- Ed Gonzalez, SLANT Magazine

"I’ll be shocked if HBO’s Prison Terminal (scheduled to debut on the network on March 31) doesn’t win the Documentary prize: unflinchingly recording the final days of decorated World War II veteran Jack Hall, a convicted murderer dying in a prison hospice, it’s an utterly unsentimental yet deeply affecting little masterpiece. I can’t imagine a more powerful piece of film-making – bring an extra hanky."

- John Seals, Berkeleyside

"The best." An "Achievement." "Prison Terminal, Barens turns this troubled place open to the nation and shows how connected to it we truly are."

- Daniel Walber, Nonfics

"The film is most moving as a case study of one man, a decorated WWII vet and German POW who killed his late son’s drug dealer. Hall’s a tough bird and so are the volunteers, convicted murderers all, who care for him in his final illness, but “Prison Terminal” turns out to be a profoundly tender experience."

- Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

"Moving and intimate."  "Extraordinary film about prisoners who deliver the hospice care at a maximum security prison."

- Susan James, ABC News (via her Twitter account)

"Fascinating." "Barens' film prompts a reconsideration of how end of life care issues are being handled for prisoners."

- Gary Kramer, Windy City Times


- Isaac Weeks, INDY Week

"It’s almost guaranteed to have you in tears by the time it’s emotional roller coaster."

- Jeff Nelson, DVD Talk

“Prison Terminal is powerful, gut-wrenching stuff." "Dare you not to shed a tear."

- George Butler, Butler's Cinema Scene (former critic for the Kansas City Star for 41 years)

"Almost surely will win your heart,  if not the Oscar."

- Michael O'Sullivan, The Washington Post

"Impressive. Unflinching, thorough, plainspoken, and humane."

- Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader

"WILL WIN. It's the most effective combination of weighty subject matter and moving personal history."

- Ethan Alter, Television Without Pity

"The most fully realized piece of work...Barens documents an inspiring model which should be studied for the population at large. A-"

- Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews


- Bernard Boo, WayTooIndie

Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall challenges preconceptions about inmates and prison life in surprising and hopeful ways. Barens reveals the heart of humanity beating loud and strong within the harshest environments. Faced with living and dying inside, the inmates we meet have chosen to live in community with one another. The commitment of the inmate hospice volunteers – and the competence and reverence with which they provide care – shows that dying people’s comfort and dignity can be preserved even in the least desirable situations. Our society could learn a lot from the example they set. A triumph of documentary filmmaking!

- Ira Byock, MD, palliative care physician and a Professor of Medicine, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth; author of Dying Well and The Best Care Possible

Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall transcends classification; it is more than a film about prison, and suffering or death. It is a deeply layered story of how the human spirit overcomes the greatest fear of all prisoners - the degradation and isolation of dying alone in prison. This stunning film helps us to gain compassion for those that we both fear and ostracize.

- Susan Rosenberg, Human rights activist, adjunct professor, award-winning writer

Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall shows us both the pain and the humanity of life behind prison walls. In doing so, it gets beyond the day-to-day politics of crime and punishment, and challenges us to think about how we can bring out the best in all of us, even those who may have committed terrible acts in their lives.

- Marc Mauer, Executive Director of The Sentencing Project and author of Race to Incarcerate

Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall is an insightful and sensitive documentary. Barens, given a rare opportunity to film within the correctional institution, makes the most of this opportunity. Viewers will undoubtedly marvel at the profound working relationships between prison staff and inmate volunteers.

- Russ Immarigeon, Editor of Offender Programs Report

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