Eleven years ago Kenneth Young received four life sentences. He was 15 years old.

15 to Life is the story of a child condemned to die in prison, seeking a second chance in the United States, where more than 2,500 children are locked up for life. For over a decade Kenneth believed he would die behind bars, now a U.S. Supreme Court decision could set him free. In Tampa, Florida we follow Kenneth Young’s legal battle for release. Recruited by his mother’s crack dealer to rob hotels, Kenneth needs to prove that he is rehabilitated and that the judge who sentenced him to life was wrong to throw away the key. By weaving the present-day story of Kenneth’s legal battle with the story of his troubled childhood, 15 to Life explores the complex issues surrounding juvenile crime and punishment.

Format: 1x1hr, Feature Documentary 82 mins

“Incredibly important.”
Melissa Harris-Perry, host, MSNBC

“The most chilling documentary I’ve seen in a long time…. Worth every minute…. I have been moved, and I’m going to start moving some people.”
Judge Laura Blackburne, host, NAACP “The Crisis Today” radio show

“Harrowing…. Depicts a justice system that only perpetuates the sort of violence it was intended to keep in check.”
Nina Liss-Schultz, Mother Jones

“Top 5 Staff Pick.”
Christian Science Monitor

“Social-justice documentaries aren’t always as engaging as you’d like them to be—they can be preachy, decidedly one-sided or two-dimensional. Not so for this little gem…. it does a fine job of using one very human story to make a larger point about the criminal justice system.”  4 stars (out of 5)
Erin Sullivan, Orlando Weekly

Awards & Nominations

Winner – CSA Best Writing in a Documentary Program 2016
Nominee – Donald Brittain Award for Best Social Political Documentary 2016
Nominee – Best Direction in a Documentary Program 2016
Nominee – Canadian Cinema Editors, Best Documentary 2015
Silver Gavel Award Honouree 2015
Media for a Just Society Award Finalist



August 4, 2014
More information


January 25, 2015
April 12, 2015



August 5th to September 3rd 2014 (in the United States)

VOD Orders

iTunes Vimeo VHX


See Saw Film Festival

April 26, 2015 at 6:30 PM – Lawrence, Kansas

Gasparilla International Film Festival

March 27, 2015 at 2:45 PM – Channelside Cinema, Tampa

Social Justice Film Festival

October 18, 2014 at 6:30 PM – University of Washington, William Gates Hall

Florida Film Festival

April 13, 2014 at 4:15 PM – Regal Winter Park Cinema

Atlanta Film Festival

April 1, 2014 at 9:45pm – Plaza Theatre

Community Screenings

For information about our film engagement campaign, and community screenings near you please visit our the 15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story website.


Director/Producer Nadine Pequeneza
Cinematographer Stefan Randstrom
Sound Recordist Paul Adlaf
Editor Ricardo Acosta
Original Music Alex Khaskin and Stan Fomin


IndieCan Entertainment – North American Sales

Tiller and Tide Media – International Sales

Outcast Films – Educational Sales



Produced by HitPlay Productions in association with PBS. Production funding provided by The Fledgling Fund, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund, Harvey T. Strosberg and Edward Greenspan, and with the participation of the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit and the Ontario Media Development Corporation Film and Television Tax Credits. Fiscal sponsorship by The Film Collaborative.