Winner 2013

Independent Lens: The House I Live In

Charlotte Street Films, Independent Television Service (ITVS), BBC, ZDF/ARTE, NHK Japan

This comprehensive look at America’s war on drugs takes the viewer step by step through the staggeringly unsuccessful attempts to rid the country of illegal drugs. The filmmaker unravels the policies of the drug war that began during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, while also showing how drug laws have historically been used to incarcerate unwanted citizens. Switching between legal, political, sociological and historical analyses of drug laws that have disproportionately affected those living in poverty, the film also demonstrates that the war on drugs is directly tied to the collapse of the manufacturing industry in the U.S. Interviewing drug dealers, police officers, prison guards, judges, physicians, academics, and journalists, the documentary shows how the so-called “drug war” is really a war on the poorest neighborhoods in our society. As David Simon, former journalist and creator of The Wire, states in the documentary, the war on drugs is a “holocaust in slow motion.” For taking on a complex subject that deeply affects our country, and presenting it in a way that is thoughtful, calm, and yet devastating, Independent Lens: The House I Live In wins a Peabody Award.


Executive Producers: Roy Ackerman, David Alcaro, Joslyn Barnes, Nick Fraser, Danny Glover, John Legend, Brad Pitt, Russell Simmons, Sally Jo Fifer. Senior Series Producer: Lois Vossen. Producers: Eugene Jarecki, Melinda Shopsin, Sam Cullman, Christopher St. John. Director: Eugene Jarecki.