Hot Docs 2014: The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest (2014)

Posted by Brandy Dean April 30, 2014 0 Comment 4054 views

As far as these things go, Mark DeFriest is a prison legend. Originally convicted of stealing his late father’s tools, which were actually willed to him, DeFriest extended his prison stay indefinitely with multiple escape attempts (many of which were successful) and a general rejection of authority. When Florida state psychiatrist Dr. Berland claimed in court that the prisoner was faking mental illness, DeFriest’s fate was sealed. The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest is a look at the man, the legend, and an unexpected shot at redemption.

Stuck in prison with no hope of parole, DeFriest persisted in his rebellious ways. Then in stunning twist, 30 years after the fact, Dr. Berland admits he was wrong. The admission triggers a parole review and The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest documents a surprising turnout in DeFriest’s attitude. His behavior improves and he gains access to the outdoors and less restrictive conditions. DeFriest begins to hope.

But is Dr. Berland’s reversal enough? The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest is an insightful look at the penal system through one man’s completely outrageous story. I won’t spoil the conclusion, but it’s a Hot Docs must see.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit Follow the film at

Screening Times for The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest

TIFF Bell Lightbox 1 Wed, Apr 30 7:00 PM
TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 Thu, May 1 12:30 PM
Royal Cinema Fri, May 2 10:00 PM


About Brandy Dean

Social media consultant, blogger for hire, and lover of classic movies and silent films.

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