Calamari Productions

Documentary Films & Series

We take pride in what hits the airwaves …

But we’re just as proud of our 20+ year video archive—the largest of its kind, anywhere in the world—and the way it’s used for education and training purposes in over 14 countries, 200 universities, 25 Policy and Advocacy organizations and 85 state government agencies and facilities.





Coming soon

The year ahead brings a diverse set of films & series in the works. Stay tuned for upcoming releases!

Xavier’s Story

What do second chances look like for men and women who were sentenced to decades behind bars as children? Watch a preview from our upcoming film:  


cottage savers

Calamari turns its cameras to more lighthearted programming in this endearing new series on vintage cottage homes.




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ABC News Nightline: “The Elkhart 4." 

Some mistakes you can never take back - and can have deadly consequences. Four teenagers and their young adult friend from Elkhart County, Indiana found this out the hard way.  Now, one is dead and the other 4 -- "The Elkhart 4" -- are serving decades behind bars.  Calamari Productions and ABC News Nightline first brought viewers this story in July, 2014.  Now, we continue to follow the case…a case that has gone all the way to the Indiana Supreme Court.  Watch our updated 2-part Nightline story which amassed over 5 million viewers:

MSNBC: Young Kids, Hard Time

Young Kids, Hard Time is an extraordinary series from Calamari Productions that throws back the veil on the reality of young kids serving long sentences behind adult prison walls. With sweeping access to go inside the maximum security Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Carlisle, Indiana--the only adult prison in the state of Indiana that houses kids sentenced as adults--Young Kids, Hard Time reveals what life is like for young kids staring down decades behind bars. Wabash Valley is home to the Youth Incarcerated As Adults cellblock (YIA), where 53 kids eat, sleep, study and recreate while being alienated from their adult counterparts. But once a youth turns 18, they are transitioned into the adult population, where thousands of adult prisoners await.  Narrated by Rick Springfield. 

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NBC NEWS: In The Child's Best Interest

*Winner of the prestigious national Edward R. Murrow AwardEmmy Award, and a National Headliner Award.

When victimized children turn victimizers themselves, juvenile court is likely to be their next destination. Calamari Productions and NBC News take viewers on an unprecedented journey with families in turmoil in this gripping documentary.  In The Child's Best Interest sheds light on the juvenile justice system and juvenile courts which are--by law--closed to the media and the public. Courtroom footage reveals the intense proceedings in which judges must shape the futures of children and parents alike, while therapists, child welfare caseworkers, foster parents, and staff members from assistance organizations agonize over the decisions they must make on behalf of the children.


“Great documentaries allow us to see what we’ve never seen before. This is one of them.”

~Edward R. Murrow Award Judges


MSNBC: In A Child's Best Interest

*Winner of the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism and the American Professional Society of Abuse of Children Outstanding Media Award.

On the heels of the Award-winning success of In THE Child's Best Interest, this 2-hour NBC/MSNBC primetime documentary Special follows 5 new cases through the child welfare system, chronicling stories involving cocaine-positive infants, educational neglect, teen pregnancy, child abuse and domestic violence.  


Lifetime Movie Network (LMN): Murder In Enchanted Hills

A two-part series in our continuing coverage of the cases of 12-year old Paul Gingerich and 14-year old Colt Lundy, retracing the path that led them to that fateful day when they took the life of Colt's stepfather.  Though both boys were sentenced to the same 30-year adult prison sentence, Paul's path kept him in the juvenile system while Colt landed behind adult prison walls. The show scored record consolidated ratings for the True Stories strand with 2.6 million viewers.  

Bio: 12-Year-Old Lifer

Our continuing coverage of the cases of Paul Gingerich and Colt Lundy, tracing how their lives are different after the Department of Correction elected to keep Paul in the juvenile system in spite of the judge's order that he be remanded to the adult system.  This film includes Paul's unprecedented appeal in the Indiana Appellate Court.


“It is a documentary of the highest quality by one of the very best in the industry. We believe it can serve as the impetus for meaningful discussions and real action in improving the systems and practices."

~Honorable Loretta Rush, Chief Justice & Honorable Steven David, Justice, Indiana Supreme Court

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MSNBC: Lake County Juvenile Justice

*Winner of the Gracie Allen Award for Outstanding TV series & a Clarion Award for Outstanding Documentary Series.

From the confines of America's juvenile detention facilities to the razor wire of juvenile prison to the heart pounding juvenile courtroom hearings where everything is on the line, Lake County Juvenile Justice explores where juvenile crime begins, how it evolves, and what's at stake for kids, families and professionals in the system. 

MSNBC: Inside Pendleton Juvenile Prison

Pendleton is the last stop in Indiana for juveniles who have committed offenses that have landed them behind bars. With extraordinary access where cameras are usually prohibited, Pendleton Juvenile takes cameras inside one of America's largest maximum security juvenile prisons to document the daily lives and struggles of nearly 400 teen boys who work toward rehabilitation and a future free of crime.


MSNBC: Kids In Crisis

When is it too soon for child welfare case workers to remove a child from his home or too late to protect that child from harm?  This is the scenario that caseworkers faced as they set out to remove two young boys from their home in the middle of the night, following accusations of physical abuse by a stepsister.  With extraordinary access to take cameras inside America's child welfare system, Kids In Crisis is the first known documentation of caseworkers performing an emergency removal of children from their home, and the two year ordeal the family endures following the removal.

Dateline NBC: For Their Own Good

For Their Own Good chronicles the wrenching decisions an Indianapolis Juvenile Judge must make from the bench as he presides over the largest juvenile jurisdiction in the state of Indiana.  From horrific cases of child abuse and neglect to crimes committed by very young teens, this primetime NBC DATELINE Special leaves no stone unturned as viewers witness kids and families in turmoil, while judges and child welfare experts struggle to do what's in the best interest of the children (premiere watched by over 8 million viewers).

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MTV Juvies 

What happens when otherwise good kids have a run-in with the law? Every young person who has ever driven too fast, drank too much, or left a party right before the cops came will relate to this gritty documentary series. Welcome to the Lake Country Juvenile Center, where first-time offenders wait to discover their fate. With unprecedented access to the Lake County juvenile court and detention center, this 8-part docu series follows kids for days, weeks and months following their initial arrest as the drama builds to their final day in court where one judge will decide their future.


“This reality show about teenagers in a juvenile detention center may sound exploitative, but instead it manages to be genuinely tragic, occasionally poignant, and, at times, even oddly funny.” 

~New York Magazine 


Hulu: Cradle To Jail

From the confines of America's juvenile detention facilities to the razor wire of juvenile prison to the heart pounding juvenile courtroom hearings where everything is on the line, Cradle To Jail explores where juvenile crime begins, how it evolves, and what's at stake for kids, families and professionals in the system.  13 episodes.


Court TV: Inside Teen Lockdown

What’s life like inside one of America’s largest juvenile prisons for hundreds of teens who are sentenced to time behind bars. This gripping documentary special gives viewers a disturbing look at a world that is rarely, if ever, seen by outside eyes.

A&E: Washington Wives

This critically acclaimed 2-hour documentary on A&E profiles a two-year journey chronicling life on the inside of the presidential campaign trail with the spouses of the 2004 presidential nominees and the key staff that make critical decisions behind the scenes. 

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A&E: Parole

Never are the stakes higher for kids going through the juvenile justice system than when they go before the juvenile parole board.  The months of rehabilitation, the ups and downs, the conflicts and the resolutions, all add up to whether or not the kids are ready to rejoin society.  This special takes viewers inside Pendleton Juvenile Prison to get to know the kids who are struggling to do the right thing and get their lives back on track. 

MSNBC: No Place For A Child

This PRIMETIME 2-hour documentary special follows five children over the course of seven years as they endure wrenching childhoods ensnared in the child welfare system. Extraordinary footage inside child abuse and neglect courts, child welfare placement facilities and foster care placements.