Directed by Chris Farina • Documentary • 2020 • 87 minutes
SEATS AT THE TABLE portrays a remarkable college class which connects university students with prisoners of a maximum security juvenile facility as they discuss classic works of Russian Literature.
University of Virginia Lecturer Andrew Kaufman created this course and has been teaching it since 2010. The literature provides a point of reference whereby they can discuss their lives openly and honestly and learn from each other. Each group's stereotypical views are replaced by a much more nuanced understanding of the other set of students as they form strong relationships which belies their original preconceptions. Both sets of students come away transformed by this singular educational experience, empowered to pursue lives of greater purpose and inspired by the discovery of their shared humanity.
SEATS AT THE TABLE explores the relationship between education and transformation, revealing the humanity behind institutional stereotypes, both collegiate and correctional.