The Prisonaires-Documentary Project

A Documentary - It was the 50’s. They were Black. They were in prison. Their sound started a music revolution.

Short Summary

In the halls of American pop culture there is a legend about music setting the prisoner free. The story of The Prisonaires has been identified as one of the earliest known cases where the prisoner truly was set free by the power of music. This documentary tells the story of The Prisonaires, 5 amazing men in the Tennessee State Prison who captured the hearts of officials with their music. The most famous song was "Just Walkin' In The Rain."  Take a captivating look back at the realities of life, hardship, music, racism, and ultimate triumph over extreme adversity.

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I am seeking funding to complete my documentary "The Prisonaires."  This is a story that I feel is an important look at the history of the African-American experience within the prison system and within the music industry. This is a story of triumph over adversity, and it needs to be spread as far and as wide as possible.  It is time for the music and the five amazing and inspiring artists known as THE PRISONAIRES to finally be recognized for their contribution as pioneers that helped to shape modern music. 

The monies raised will be used to pay for the stunning photos from Getty Images, music rights, and for final editing of both picture and sound. I have submitted the documentary to approximately 25 film festivals around the world, including The Harlem International Film Festival.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

About Cass Paley

CASS PALEY is president of Cassel Productions, an independent, full-service production company that has produced numerous documentaries for American television and international broadcast over the past 20 years, including The Saga of Western Man series for ABC television and the Emmy Award winning National Geographic special, Journey to the Outer Limits. 


In addition, Paley has worked for Warner Bros. Records, Capitol Records, Sony Music, EMI Music and other entities to produce over 250 electronic press kits for distribution to MTV and other major entertainment media for such artists as Madonna, ZZ Top, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, Dr. John, REM, and The B-52s.


Paley produced and directed a film on satiric artist Charles Bragg (Charles Bragg: One of a Kind) as well as a trio of multi-part documentaries (Guns of the Old West, Guns of the Civil War, and World War II: Breadlines to Boomtimes) with writer and co-producer Rodger Jacobs for PBS.


Paley has also produced several industrial/promotional films for Smith & Wesson for their Historical Museum Gun Tour.

For the past 21 years, Cass Paley has been the archivist for the Roy Orbison Estate and has produced 4 DVD projects for them; Austin City Limits Concert, Greatest Hits, 1973 Australian Concert, and In Dreams Documentary.

Recently, Lionsgate Films has acquired the worldwide distribution rights to Paley's award winning documentary-WADD-The Life and Times of John C. Holmes, winner –Best Feature Documentary at the South by Southwest Film Festival.




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