by Nance Ackerman, Ariella Pahlke & Teresa MacInnes
Attending to the challenges of women’s life during and after incarceration, this poignant & hopeful doc imagines alternatives to the carceral system through arts.
2019  ·  1h18m  ·  Canada
About the Film

Alarmed by the rising numbers of women in prison and inspired by the conviction of Senator Kim Pate, CONVICTION flips the narrative away from pop culture’s voyeuristic lens and hands it to the women who are being victimized, marginalized and criminalized in our society. Not another ‘broken prison’ film, Conviction is a ‘broken society’ film – an ambitious and inspired re-build of our community, from the inside out. With more women in prisons than ever before, the film implicates viewers to question the status quo, and to consider a different kind of society that better supports the most vulnerable among us.

Conviction’s approach aims to collapse the ‘us’ and the ‘them’, the filmmaker and the subject, the viewer and the women in prison. The women involved are true collaborators, not only in the process of creating their different versions of a better society, but also by participating in the making of the film.

To read more about Conviction’s collaborative approach, follow the links below.

Upcoming Screenings

Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!

Festivals and Awards
Hot Docs, Official Selection
FIN Atlantic International Film Festival, Halifax , Official Selection
Vancouver International Film Festival, Official Selection
Nance Ackerman and Teresa MacInnes
Nance Ackerman
Teresa MacInnes and Annette Clarke
Sound Editor
Nance Ackerman and Judith Gruber-Stitzer
Soundtrack Composer
Judith Gruber-Stitzer
Nance Ackerman, Ariella Pahlke, and Teresa MacInnes
Film Related
About the Director

Nance Ackerman

Celebrated documentary photographer and filmmaker, Nance Ackerman has been making images and film around the world for over 30 years. Her documentary photography work has been featured in Time, Newsweek, Canadian Geographic, New York Times, and Canada’s national newspaper, the Globe and Mail and she was the assistant photo editor at the Montreal Gazette for several years before going freelance. Her work has been described as ‘artivism’ – creating art to create change. Striving to build bridges of understanding, common ground and a global awareness of human behaviour on this planet, her work quickly grew too large for the daily news cycle. After being dragged across the barricade while covering/protesting at Oka, she started on a journey of discovery of her Mohawk heritage. The result, her photographs of First Nations women, have been exhibited at the Aperture Foundation in New York and the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, DC. Following that, Ackerman’s book, Womankind: Faces of Change Around the World – a collection of portraits and essays of women activists around the world – was released in 2003.

In 2005 Ackerman turned her eye to directing social documentary films. Her first film, the National Film Board feature documentary Cottonland, brought in numerous awards and three Gemini Nominations, and shone a light on the connection between the world of opioid drug addiction and post industrial malaise. Since then she has made several more award-winning documentaries and an animated short. Her collaborative feature documentary film, Conviction, went inside Canada’s women’s prisons to imagine alternatives to incarceration through art and music and premiered at Hot Docs International Film Festival. Conviction won her, and her co-directors, a National Writer’s Guild Award for Best Documentary script. Her latest film Behind the Bhangra Boys takes an intimate look at joyous activism through five Sikh Bhangra dancers and new Canadians. Ackerman is now developing several projects from Afghanistan to Mexico that explore the power of the human spirit behind many seemingly overwhelming global issues. She has a masters degree in New Media and also taught for seven years at the University of Kings College, in Halifax. She now offers International photography workshops around the world. Ackerman also composes soundtracks with her partner, Jamie Alcorn, at their studio in Halifax, Heartstring Productions.



Teresa MacInnes

Over the last 30 years, Teresa MacInnes’ films have tackled some of the most crucial social justice issues of our time. Her passion and balanced approach to producing and directing have engaged audiences around the world.

She has won numerous awards and her films have screened at Hot Docs, Vancouver International, Margaret Mead, IDA, Barcelona, NY and Thessaloniki. In 2014, her documentary Buying Sex was named one of the top ten feminist films streaming on US Netflix by MS Magazine. Her latest documentary, Mabel, recently won the prestigious 2017 Banff Rockie Award for best Social/Political Documentary. Teresa currently serves on the board of directors of Hot Docs and DOC Atlantic.



Ariella Pahlke

Ariella Pahlke is a Canadian documentary and video artist, curator, and educator living in Terence Bay, Nova Scotia. With a background in philosophy, Ariella has spent the past seventeen years creating documentaries and independent shorts, collaborating on multi-media performance pieces, curating, and teaching. Her film and video work has been shown on television, at festivals and in galleries throughout Canada and the US, and in Norway, India, New Zealand, and South Africa. Her teaching experience includes instructing video in the public school system, facilitating collaborative documentaries with community groups, and teaching video and documentary classes at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and at the Arctic College in Iqaluit, Nunavut.

Ariella’s artistic practice is grounded in a subjective and personal investigation of the rural context she lives and works in. The documentary stance in her work is often muddied by her choice to blur the roles of observer and instigator. In an essay for the MSVU Art Gallery exhibition, “Roots and Shoots,” Kathleen Tetlock writes: “Ariella’s documentary practice is inseparable from its generative community, politics, and historical context. Each work is also about process. …Her vibrancy is an extremely controlled vehicle for the provocation of chaos, which unfailingly destabilizes the status quo.”

In 2009, Ariella completed Burning Rubber, a one-hour documentary examining rural car culture and burnouts as a disregarded form of creative expression. Burning Rubber aired on Bravo and is showing at film festivals in Canada and in the US, recently winning the Yorkton Film Festival’s Golden Sheaf award for best point of view documentary. Ariella has also recently coordinated a project for the United Way, mentoring a group of adults in Dartmouth North and producing three short documentaries with them about their community. She is presently developing a digital documentary project with the NFB called What will remain? examining memory and choice in the context of ageing and dementia. She is also completing two videos – an independent experimental documentary titled What you did before you were born, and a video about C@P sites, exploring the value of community access to information technology and the internet.