In early 2002 Joanne Caputo entered the maximum security Graterford Correctional Facility with a video camera, her Vietnamese sister-in-law, and 75-year-old mother. The women passed nervously through the high-security check point in order to enter the visiting room behind bars, but they were most anxious to see inmate John Caputo, their nephew, son, and grandson. More relaxing was Graterford’s art exhibit at the Philadelphia Inquirer, 30 miles away, where John’s wooden miniature prison cell — created from scavenged wood, tongue depressors, pencils and toothpicks — had just won 2nd Place. After more than a decade behind bars — beginning with a teenage auto theft charge — John had become not only a violent prison “scrapper,” but an artist.
The visit kicked off Cutting Loose, a film project that Joanne Caputo would follow for the next seven years, observing art’s ability to rehabilitate her Asian American nephew. A free test screening of the documentary will be held on Friday, March 19, at 5:00 p.m. at the Little Art Theater in Yellow Springs, where a 40-minute version will be shown, plus a brief feedback session with the audience.
Cutting Loose follows Caputo’s 'On A Roll: Family, Disability and The American Dream,' winner of the 2005 PBS Independent Lens Audience Award and recommended by The New York Times; and 'Ballerina, Ballerina' children's video, recommended by Sesame St. Magazine.