STRANGER INSIDE is the story of a young African American woman named Treasure Lee who has been in and out of jail for as long as she can remember. Now, turning twenty-one, she is being transferred for the first time to the main State Facility for Women with one thing on her mind.
All her young life, Treasure was told that her mother, Margaret “Brownie” Lee, was dead. So when one of her best Gang Girl friends rolls into State before her and tells her about a bad-ass lifer nick-named “Brownie,” Treasure has to find out if her dream could possibly come true. Could there really be a chance to reconnect with the mother she’s never been allowed to have? Or will this compelling reunion offer Treasure insight into herself she’s never even imagined?
Based on four years of research into the lives of incarcerated women, award-winning filmmaker Cheryl Dunye’s STRANGER INSIDE is an authentic study of life on the inside, featuring a landscape of real characters — from the young and tough Treasure to her queen of the roost mother Brownie, from the reforming gang girl Shadow to the hypocritical born-again embezzler Doodle, from Korean shop owner Min who says she killed a girl in self-defense to tough-as-nails Mama Cass who proudly took down her own daughter’s rapist, from the drug-dealing Kit to her white supremacist cellie Fran, from pregnant Tanya to Xanex zombie Patrice.
STRANGER INSIDE is a bittersweet drama about one young woman’s unconscious struggle to bring the downward cycle of her own situation to a head by confronting the secrets and lies that have, until now, shaped and controlled her life.
Produced by: HBO Films / C-100 Film Corp.
Directed by: Cheryl Dunye
Starring: Yolanda Ross and Rain Phoenix