Julie Stewart first learned about mandatory minimum sentencing laws in 1990, when her brother Jeff was arrested for growing marijuana in Washington State and was sentenced to five years in federal prison without parole. Motivated by her own family’s experience, Julie created Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) and has continued to lead FAMM in the fight for punishments that fit the crime and offender. In honor of their 25-year anniversary, FAMM decided to make a video that documents their journey and highlights the continued need for minimum sentencing law reform.
In order to tell the story of FAMM’s history, we wanted to highlight major historical milestones, convey the present state of FAMM and leave the audience excited and inspired to participate in FAMM’s mission in the future. Through research and frequent discussions with FAMM, we were able to gain an understanding of their organization’s big picture, as well as the individual pieces that helped FAMM achieve momentum and various successes.
Interviews with team members were used to take the audience through the creation of FAMM. We also felt it was important to share compelling personal stories of individuals and their family members who had been personally affected by minimum sentencing laws. We used a combination of archival imagery and present-day footage to move the story from the past into the present day.
Having the opportunity to tell the story of FAMM was exciting, educational and inspiring. The video was shown at FAMM’s 25-year anniversary celebration and will be used as a tool to communicate the need for continued reform.