"Second Chances": Documentary shares stories of 3 black men and their life after prison

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David Lewis directed and produced a documentary that gives a candid look at men of color caught up in the justice system. (KTRK)

A documentary that gives a candid look at men of color caught up in the justice system is premiering at the National Black Film Festival.

The documentary, titled "Second Chances," is about just that: second chances.

"We go into a small town of Terrell, Texas, which is where I grew up. It's a rural town just about 35 miles outside of Dallas," director and producer Dave Lewis said. "What the documentary does is it shares the stories of three black men that went to prison at a young age."

Chris Gipson was imprisoned for multiple drug offenses. Antoine Simmons was convicted for several drug offenses as a teenager. At just 14 years old, Byron Mims was convicted of attempted murder.

Collectively, over 60 years of prison time served.

Lewis said you see firsthand the ups and downs the men and their families faced while in and out of court, and prison. The documentary shares the men's stories of mistakes and their turnaround.

Now, Gipson is a barber and gospel music artist. Simmons is an entrepreneur and Mims owns a mechanic shop and clothing store.

Lewis said he was compelled to take on the issue because it hits close to home.

"My mom was in an abusive relationship my whole life and at the age of 15 my brother ended up getting into an altercation with a guy and the guy died as a result of those injuries," Lewis said. "At that point, my mom and brother were both charged (with murder)."

Lewis chose a different path.

He went on to college getting a degree in biology and now he helps give those, like his mother and brother, second chances.

Lewis is hoping the film is able to educate others.

"You can see where there is 25 percent more men of color in prison versus in college or any other higher education," he said.

He also hopes to give people a glimpse of just how important second chances are.

"My goal is for people that have an opportunity to make it out of the situations and not to go back," Lewis added. "Like I made it out of the situation and I feel like it's my responsibility to give back."
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