Independent Lens "Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story" on WXXI-TV

Independent Lens "Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story" on WXXI-TV

Tue, 03/01/2011 - 10:00pm

Pictured: Cyntoia rides to the courthouse during her criminal trial.

Credit: Courtesy of Daniel H. Birman

Cyntoia Brown was an average teenager until a series of bad decisions led the 16-year-old to life in a Tennessee prison.

Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story is a hard-edged look into the troubled life of Nashville’s Cyntoia Brown, a young woman tried as a juvenile and currently serving a life sentence for a murder she committed at age 16. Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story will have its premiere on the Peabody and Emmy® Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens, hosted by America Ferrera, on Tuesday, March 1 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV (DT21.1/cable 11/cable 1011).

Abandoned by her alcoholic and crack-addicted teenaged mother, Cyntoia was passed around from caretaker to caretaker as an infant, and finally adopted into a family with a loving mother but tough father. Shaped by bad genetics (several of her birth relatives have committed suicide and suffer from addiction and mental disorders), bad luck, and bad choices, then 16-year-old Cyntoia was a runaway forced into prostitution by an abusive, addict boyfriend. On the night of August 6, 2004, she was picked up by a 43-year-old man, went back to his home and, claiming she feared for her life, shot and killed him.

Filmed over the course of six years and featuring interviews with Cyntoia, her family, doctors, psychologists, lawyers, and others involved in her case, the filmmaker delves into Cyntoia’s life in an attempt to answer a very basic question — why? Heartbreaking and disturbing, Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story pushes aside assumptions and forces us to look into a startling mirror that reveals some important social issues that show that the norm can fail to help a child or prevent a tragedy.

This acclaimed Emmy Award-winning anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement and unflinching visions of their independent producers. INDEPENDENT LENS features unforgettable stories about a unique individual, community or moment in history. The series is supported by interactive companion Web sites and national publicity and community engagement campaigns.