Life, Again

This film paints an intimate portrait of Wes Burleson, a man recently released from prison after 23 years, while he navigates his journey to freedom, rehabilitation, and redemption. In documenting his decades long struggle to not be defined by his past, we examine the conditions that allow his creativity to thrive.

  • Anna Maité Kaplan
    Director
  • Orion Huang
    Director
  • Caitlyn Saw
    Producer
  • Anna Maité Kaplan
    Producer
  • Orion Huang
    Editor
  • Hunter Ramaekers
    Editor
  • Orion Huang
    Cinematographer
  • Wes Burleson
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    18 minutes 14 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 17, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Chapman University
Director Biography - Anna Maité Kaplan, Orion Huang

Coming into college with a passion for social issue storytelling, Anna Maité Kaplan and Orion Huang have created documentaries together since 2018. At Chapman University, they studied documentary filmmaking and shared a common goal in telling the stories of unheard communities while honing their storytelling craft. Their eagerness for documentary grew stronger when they went to Australia to create films on unique Sikh individuals who spoke for their community for the SikhLens Foundation. During the making of Life, Again, Anna and Orion spent almost a year with Wes Burleson through his post-incarceration journey. They listened to his experiences, his pursuits, and, ultimately, his life. Both knew many people whether incarcerated or not would be touched and inspired by Wes' triumphant story.

Anna Maité Kaplan is a documentarian of Guatemalan and Mayan descent. Having lived in Spain, the Czech Republic, and New York, she uses her diverse background to find commonality and differences between cultures through visual expression. By working at production companies like Stay Gold Features and Simba Productions, teaching classes to Bronx Latin High School students, and producing films about the Australian Sikh community, she knows the significance of making social impact and stimulating conversation with people across the world. While working on Life, Again, Anna Maité has learned the importance of dispelling misconceptions that lead to prejudice and intolerance. The knowledge and relationships she has gained will always remain invaluable.

Orion Huang is a Taiwanese-American director, originally from San Francisco, and is now based in LA. In pursuit of his film aspirations, he earned a News & Documentary BFA from Chapman’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, and a BA in Political Science. After 7 years of crafting people-centered stories, Orion knows how to unpeel layers of a subject, strike a respectful balance between competing narratives, and concede that there is always more to a story. His interest in working on this doc was sparked by his father’s incarceration. Orion learned how damaging society’s stigma toward felons could be as he watched his father struggle to find a job. Since then, Orion found a purpose in giving the convicted the second chance they deserve. In Life, Again, he hopes to shine a light on a system that needs change.

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