Elena Engel on Creating the Documentary “John Leguizamo Live at Rikers”
Elena Engel is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, and producer who has worked on projects with Warner Brothers, The Walt Disney Company, PBS, and The United Nations, among others. Years ago, she began collaborating with acclaimed actor and producer John Leguizamo on a film that would eventually become John Leguizamo Live at Rikers, premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival.
The film documents John Leguizamo performing his one-man show at Rikers correctional facility while simultaneously exploring the challenges that justice-involved young men face as they await trial or sentencing.
Elena shares her approach to creating the film, the process of collaborating with John Leguizamo on the project, and her unexpected journey to directing. She also explains her goals for the film that highlights reentry programs for incarcerated young adults such as Getting Out And Staying Out.