As seen in RELEASED, a film directed by Philip F. Messina and produced by Messina, Martin Feinberg, Matt Coleman and Eric Krebs. All rights reserved.


  • Vilma Ortiz Donovan
  • Kenneth Harrigan
  • Casimiro Torres
  • Angel Ramos
Executive Producer:
  • Martin Feinberg
  • Frederic Fasam
  • Martin Feinberg
  • Phil Messina
Production Company:
  • Winner Pictures

* Most external filmography links go to The Internet Movie Database.

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Released (2013)

Opened: 05/10/2013 Quad Cinema

Quad Cinema05/10/2013 - 05/16/20137 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home

Genre: Documentary

Rated: Unrated

Prison Was Hard...Freedom Is Harder

"By ten, I had experienced every type of abuse someone can do to a child...It's no wonder, I started getting high to numb the pain....The next 20 years of my life was drugs, jail, prison and alcohol." - Casimiro Torres

Based on the original theatrical production of "The Castle," conceived, co-authored, and directed by DAVID ROTHENBERG.


Anne Borin PR

The Quad Cinema, Winner Pictures, a division of Winner Media and Winner Communications, presents the world premier of the documentary feature, RELEASED (73 minutes), on Friday, May 10th, 2013 at New York's QUAD Cinema.

In this unforgettable story four extraordinary people--three men and a woman, each a convicted felon, who, by force of their own will, deep good nature, profound change in attitude and access to the finely tuned prisoner re-entry system of the Fortune Society, overcome a brutal past and defy the grim statistic that two out of every three prisoners released in the United States today will be back in prison within three years. Providing a model for the nation, this life-affirming and heart-breaking story proves that the implacable tide of recidivism can be reversed.

Directed by Philip Messina RELEASED introduces three men and one woman, Vilma Ortiz Donovan, Kenneth Harrigan, Casimiro Torres and Angel Ramos. The stories they tell of their criminal lives are chilling:

Casimiro Torres, grew up in Hell's Kitchen. "As a kid, I was forced to fight my brother until one of us was bloody -- I was bet on like a dog." Fatherless, with an alcoholic mother he was placed in juvenile facilities where he was abused by a sadistic and sexually deviant staff. Casimiro started using drugs at age 10, becoming a hardened crack-head criminal--burglaries, armed robberies, whatever it took. He was arrested sixty-seven times and did sixteen years in prison.

Vilma Ortiz, a vibrantly intelligent woman from a solid Puerto Rican family, became addicted to cocaine and eventually dealt drugs becoming one of the few women to break into this malicious fraternity where her "status" gave her the illusion of power and confidence, masking profound insecurity and indecisiveness. Finally arrested and convicted, she spent six years in prison.

Kenneth Harrigan, an "A" student from a stable African-American family, started to use recreational drugs and was soon addicted to crack. Burglary sustained his habit--he served 16 years in prison.

Angel Ramos, Puerto Rican, grew up brutally poor with an abusive mother. At seventeen, a friend made an offhanded remark that offended him. Releasing a suppressed reservoir of rage, Angel murdered his friend. He served 30 years in prison.

From these deep deficits, Casimiro, Vilma, Kenneth, and Angel struggled and ultimately triumphed. Drawing on long overlooked personal strengths and a radical shift in attitude they all shared something in common and understood that the will to live productive lives was in their control.

They also shared something else. After leaving prison with no homes to go to and no jobs for support, they found a unique program known as "The Castle", a 62-bed re-entry facility run by former prisoners in New York City. This haven was created by The Fortune Society, founded by Broadway Press Agent, Producer and activist, David Rothenberg, after years of engagement with former prisoners through talk backs after the performances of his hit play, Fortune and Men's Eyes.

As part of their rehabilitation Caz, Vilma, Kenneth and Angel collaborated with Rothenberg to tell their own stories. Originally conceived as an exercise in self-awareness, the project developed under Rothenberg into the play, The Castle, and was produced by Eric Krebs, a highly regarded theater producer and social justice advocate, for a 14-month Off-Broadway run in 2008. To date, more than 30,000 people have seen the production in over 200 performances at prisons, colleges, community centers, and other organizations, including the New York State Legislature.

When Executive Producer Martin Feinberg, a successful advertising and marketing executive saw a performance of The Castle in a woman's prison he knew it would make an important movie and brought these inspiring and challenging stories to the screen.

"Though Caz, Vilma, Kenneth and Angel have survived and flourished they are the exception." Feinberg laments, "The vast majority of prisoners have the odds stacked against them. Many are released with no money, no job, no place to live and shunned by society. 65% of them are back in prison within three years. This film was made in the hope that many more will benefit from the examples of these four heroes whose lives confirm that with some help even hardened criminals can become productive citizens."

About the Filmmakers

Martin P. Feinberg (Executive Producer)

Through his company Winner Communications / Winner Media, Martin Feinberg has been conceiving, producing, and marketing broadcast campaigns for over 35 years (Carvel Ice Cream, General Nutrition Centers, Maurice Villency Furniture, Jordache Jeans and 100's of others).

Feinberg has also worked as a film editor, co- produced the Broadway play "Honky Tonk Nights," was co-writer on the film script "Working Man" and Executive Producer of the feature film "With Friends Like These". He is currently producing two more feature films scheduled for completion in 2014. Martin has also attained success in real estate, art and antiques, and in venture capital.

Philip F. Messina (Director)

An award-winning producer-writer-director with extensive experience in both independent and studio motion pictures as well as commercial films. He is currently directing and co-producer the documentary feature "The Passion of Pool," and preparing a feature film for production from his screenplay "Richie and Ro."

Mr. Messina wrote and directed the theatrical motion picture "With Friends Like These," which gardened top honors in festivals throughout the world. The New York Times said "With Friends Like These" plays like a triple episode of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm.' His many screenplays include the MGM film "Brainstorm" "Original Sin" for ABC, and the USA Cable movie "Spy," which he also directed.

His Film "Skezag," the acclaimed documentary feature, considered one of the most powerful anti-drug films ever made, won a host of awards and was honored by special invitational screenings on Capitol Hill. "Skezag" was selected in 2011 by the Library of Congress to be part of their permanent collection. His numerous commercial films and TV spots have garnered honors that include Telley and Effie awards.

Mr. Messina has been an adjunct professor at USC School of Cinematics Arts teaching directing since 1999, and at the Loyola Marymount University School of film teaching screen writing since 2001.

David Rothenberg (Producer)

David Rothenberg has been involved with over 200 Broadway and Off-Broadway productions as a publicist or producer. His production of John Herbert's prison drama "Fortune In Men's Eyes" led to the creation of the Fortune Society, one of the nation's leading advocacy and service organizations in criminal justice.

Rothenberg represented some of the most successful theater offerings in the second half of the twentieth century, including the original production of "Hair," Richard Burton's "Hamlet," "Beyond the Fringe." Blue Man Group, John Gielgud's "The School for Scandal," HArold Pinter's "The Birthday Party," and several plays by Edward Albee and Tennessee Williams. Rothenberg conceived, directed and co-authored "The Castle," which played Off-Broadway for thirteen months.

He is a former member of the NYC Human Rights Comission, and the has hosted a weekly radio program on WBAI/NYC for nearly forty years. He lives in New York City

Eric Krebs (Producer)

Eric Krebs has been a theatrical producer as well as a professor for over 40 years. On Broadway he produced "Electra, It Ain't Nothing But the Blues," Bill Maher in his "Victory Begins at Home," Avery Books in "Paul Robeson" and "Neil Simon's The Dinner Party." Off-Broadway, he produced over 40 productions, including Sam Shepard's "Fool for Love," Neil LaButte's "Bash," "The Capitol Steps," etc. He built and operated the John Houseman and Douglas Fairbanks Theaters. In the non-for-profit theater, he founded and was Artistic Director of the George Street Playhouse in New Jersey, a regional theater now in its thirty-ninth year.

He is a Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University and is currently a Professor of Theater at Baruch College of the City of New York.