Out of the Box: Ending the Cycle of Incarceration


Friday, Nov. 4 at 7:30pm

In the spring of 2000, the federal judges of the Eastern District of Missouri selected Doug Burris as the new chief probation officer and charged him with reversing a potentially dangerous trend: At the time, the district exceeded by 30 percent the national federal average for parole revocations. Burris began with three goals: diversify the office, start a jobs program, and offer cognitive-skills therapy to help ex-offenders learn how to make better choices. After overcoming some initial resistance by senior staff, Burris has helped transform the district into the model for a successful supervised-release program. “Out of the Box” – which features narration by Stacy Keach – tells the personal stories behind these innovations, including the unprecedented hiring of an ex-con, Clark Porter, to serve as a program support specialist in the office. For faithful SLIFF attendees, “Out of the Box” may seem familiar. The film was the final project of Hollywood screenwriter and Lindenwood U. faculty member Rift Fournier, who finished a cut of the film just before his death in October 2013. SLIFF presented Rift’s 50-minute version of the documentary that year, but his former students, Zarko Mladenovic and Nenad Simic, continued to shoot new footage and add context. SLIFF is honored to present the completed work.

84 min.

Directed by

Rift Fournier, Zarko Mladenovic & Nenad Simic

Film Category

Leon & Mary Strauss Documentary Spotlight Race in America: The Black Experience Show-Me Cinema
With co-directors Mladenovic and Simic, and subjects Scott Anders, Doug Burris, Clark Porter, and Michael Wolff (dean of Saint Louis U. Law School).

Shown with



Ashley Seering & Cory Byers

An ex-con restores furniture while working to repair his own life.

With co-directors Seering and Byers.
8 min.