Private Project


Following his exoneration, unyielding activist, artist, and musician Leon Benson navigates his first three days out of prison after enduring 24 years of a 61-year sentence for a murder he did not commit. Leon meets his infant granddaughter for the first time, buys sweatpants at the local Kohl's, reconnects with old friends, and records songs for his album in this personal and tender meditation on a family's resilience, lost time, the power of music, and the unwavering spirit of hope that has carried him to his first moments of rebirth.

  • Britni West
    Tired Moonlight
  • Britni West
  • Cath Daly
  • Leon Benson
    Key Cast
  • Koby Bluitt
    Key Cast
  • Fury Young
    Key Cast
  • Valerie Buford
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Runtime:
    2 hours 2 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    November 30, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    25,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Britni West

Britni West is a filmmaker and photographer who hails from Montana and is now based in New York City. With an eye for fleeting moments of humor and humanity, she specialises in verité-style storytelling for both fiction and documentary projects, most recently serving as a camera operator for all three seasons of the award-winning HBO series, How To with John Wilson.
Her personal work focuses on the intricacies of family and group dynamics, the specificities of place, and the sharing of communal pleasures, large and small. In 2015 Filmmaker Magazine honored her as one of the "25 New Faces of Independent Film" and her debut narrative feature film, Tired Moonlight, has been showcased in museums and festivals globally, including MoMA, ND/NF, Slamdance - Narrative Feature Award, IFFR, and Viennale.

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Director Statement

In 2018, I had the privilege of meeting Fury Young, the founder of Die Jim Crow Records, a unique record label dedicated to artists impacted by the U.S. prison system. I began accompanying him to film in prisons around the country as he collaborated with incarcerated musicians. In makeshift studios crafted from packing blankets and duct tape, they recorded songs while reminiscing about their lives, the children they had left behind, the partners they wished they could have, and the difficult circumstances that had lead to their incarcerations—some spanning decades, others, life.

In March of 2023, I received a call from Fury as he was en-route to an Indiana prison, eagerly awaiting the release of Leon Benson, a dear friend and frequent collaborator. Leon, after enduring 24 years of a 61-year sentence, had been declared innocent and was set for immediate release.

Leon and his family graciously allowed me into their lives as I followed along with them for his first three days of freedom. Their spirit, optimism, and great love for one another was immediately apparent, as was Leon's warmth and remarkable capacity for perseverance. The resulting film is a gentle portrait of a man in his first moments of rebirth, observed through the small details of life, family, music and faith.