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the film


Filmmaker Aisha Allen follows her brother Alyasa, upon his release from prison after serving over a decade. The family must first face their past in order to help Alyasa heal and transition back into society.

Filmmaker Aisha Allen goes on an introspective journey as her family welcomes her brother Alyasa, 27 home after serving over a decade in prison. He was incarcerated at the age of 16,charged as an adult and sentenced to  21 years. The Cost of Time, is an intimate family portrait of the physical, mental and financial costs of having an incarcerated loved one. It examines the personal work that it takes to not only end mass incarceration  but to also break the  chains of generational incarceration. 

Alyasa must pick up his life, where it left off, at the age of 16. The  milestones from his first year home are juxtaposed with the milestones of Aisha’s youngest son, Elijah who was born 8 months prior to Alyasa’s release. We  see Alyasa helping his nephew learn how to walk and at the same time learning how to walk in a world that's much different from the one he left.

Together the  family races against time to catch Alyasa up to speed on the latest technology, money management ,  and how to drive as they try to prepare him for his first summer home in Chicago. A summer that is notoriously known for being just as alluring as it is deadly. Each family member struggles to fight their own anxiety and fears as  Alyasa learns to walk again in a hostile world that is unforgiving.

The facts


Since the day he was born it seems like my brother, Alyasa has been fighting for his life.  My brother was 2- years- old when then Senator Joe Biden made his famous speech on the senate floor in favor of the crime bill. This bill advocated for mandatory minimum sentencing which would contribute to the ballooning increase of mass incarceration. These laws directly impacted families across America, including my family. These lawmakers failed to see the families and individuals that these laws would directly effect but instead labeled people as "super-predators" and "criminals".

Thirty years later, we are still filling the impact of these laws. Through my intimate family portrait, The Cost of Time will explore the financial.

The mission


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