Interview with Filmmaker Brent Lambert-Zaffino (COOKING INSIDE: FROM PRISON TO HOME)

Directed by Brent Lambert-Zaffino
Two men who were formerly incarcerated together recreate a prison meal exactly as they made it inside. Cooking Inside explores America’s cruel and broken prison system through the humanity of food.


Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Adrian, our producer and one of the subjects of the documentary said, “I want to be able to talk about my time inside without depressing everybody.” Telling that story through the crazy MacGuyver-like methods he had to utilize to have a decent meal kind of sprouted from there.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

This one was quick! We conceived of the idea and had a finished product in about three months.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Surprisingly funny

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Collecting the same foods Adrian and Cazzie ate inside was surprisingly difficult and ended up being a component of the film itself.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Hearing strangers respond to your work — good or bad it doesn’t matter — is a magical experience and serves as a reminder of why making things and sharing them is great. Our feedback was also very positive, which felt very sweet.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

Seeing Fellowship of the Ring in the theater on Christmas day and being gobsmacked in a way I was completely unprepared for. Who knew movies could do that? Then I read Patti Smith’s book in college and just thought, “Screw it, I’ve gotta make stuff.” I feel like my most articulate self when that stuff is a film.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Gosh, probably Airplane!

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

Access to folks who are established in the film industry is huge. Maybe something like a mentorship program or producer feedback. Knowing someone important is seeing your project is incredibly motivating to those of us constantly sending out our work into the void.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

I love Filmfreeway as both a filmmaker and a festival director. It’s really lovely.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Hummus. Is that a meal? I love hummus more than anything.

11. What is next for you? A new film?

We’d love to extend this project to a feature film or series that incorporates more formerly incarcerated people telling their stories through food; we’re currently exploring options to make that happen.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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