WeTransfer presents 'Mr. Wash': A story of hope and the power of art in America’s unforgiving prison system
A new short documentary film about the artist Fulton Leroy Washington is now available on WePresent.
Emancipation Proclamation, the last painting Mr. Wash did while in federal custody.
May 2, 2018 - Today, WeTransfer released a new documentary film telling the story of Fulton Leroy Washington, aka Mr. Wash. The film leverages WeTransfer’s unique platform for storytelling and celebrates WeTransfer’s role in bringing creative voices to the fore and sharing creative perspectives on the issues of the day. The short premiered on WeTransfer’s editorial platform WePresent following a screening at CAAM (California African American Museum) in Los Angeles - home to both Mr. Wash and WeTransfer. It can be found here: http://we.tl/mr-wash
In 1997, Mr. Wash was given a mandatory life sentence, and in 2016 was granted clemency by President Barack Obama and freed. While in prison, Mr. Wash taught himself how to paint, and crafted thousands of hyper-realistic artworks, many of which were painted of and for his fellow inmates. The documentary tells the inspiring story of Mr. Wash and his return home to his family in Compton, CA and makes the case for creativity as an optimistic force.
While researching an article on President Obama’s clemency initiative, journalist Marisa Aveling learned of Mr. Wash’s case and, inspired by his story, felt compelled to share his perspective. She then enlisted filmmaker Sean Mattison, to develop the short. WeTransfer, understanding how the film could draw attention to issues such as prison reform and the importance of optimism in art and filmmaking, joined the project as a producer in 2017. As part of their work as producer, WeTransfer commissioned respected Los Angeles-based composer Dexter Story to create a dedicated score for the film. The film was cut by NYC-based editor Winnie Cheung.
Damian Bradfield, President of WeTransfer, commented: “At WeTransfer, we have always sought to shine a light on the issues of our time, and to promote creative views on these relevant topics. Since making our home in the US in Los Angeles, we have become inspired and engaged by the issues facing our local communities, from gun violence to mass incarceration to homelessness. When Marisa Aveling first brought this story to us and introduced us to Wash, we immediately knew it was a project we wanted to support and a story that our community would find as moving as we do.”
As part of the campaign, Mr. Wash, WeTransfer and the filmmakers are encouraging viewers of the film to donate to FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums), an organization working to end the type of mandatory sentencing that put Mr. Wash behind bars for 19 years. WeTransfer will be making a donation to the organization.
Mr. Wash continues WeTransfer’s ongoing support of documentary filmmakers whose work is featured on WePresent, the editorial platform by WeTransfer that showcases creative ideas to spark inspiration and social action. Recent initiatives include ‘100 Days of Optimism,’ a partnership with Seed & Spark to support activism in filmmaking and the launch of ‘Work in Progress,’ a series by WeTransfer exploring the creative process of some of the world’s most groundbreaking artists.
WeTransfer makes tools to move ideas. Founded in 2009 in Amsterdam as a simple, well-designed file sharing service for the creative community, WeTransfer has grown to include tools that scale across the creative spectrum, including editorial platform WePresent (with 3M monthly readers), mobile app 'Collect by WeTransfer' (with 4M monthly users), quick slide-making tool Paste® (with 40,000 active teams), immersive sketching tool Paper® (with more than 30M downloads), and the original web platform with 60M monthly users and over a billion files sent each month.
From the beginning, WeTransfer has prioritized bringing “offline” values - trust, transparency, and ethics - online. This means having a responsible data policy and tools that don’t distract people from their creative flow. WeTransfer has pioneered a new means of online advertising, resulting in the platform’s full-page wallpapers, designed by our award-winning in-house creative studio. Advertisers include industry-leading brands like Apple, Saint Laurent, Google, Balenciaga, Samsung, Netflix, Adidas, and Squarespace.
Since its founding, WeTransfer has proudly supported the creative communities and given up to 30% of advertising space to support the arts, donating over 5 billion impressions in 2017. Through our ongoing advertising grant program and content platform, WePresent, we have partnered with hundreds of groundbreaking artists and organizations, including Björk, King Krule, FKA twigs, Ryan McGinley, Ami Vitale, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the UN Development Program, the World Wildlife Foundation and the Prince Estate. In 2016, WeTransfer launched the world’s first free Masters of the Arts in design thinking with the University of the Underground and Worldwide FM, the global radio station run by legendary BBC DJ Gilles Peterson.
Following a $25 million investment from Highland Europe in 2015, WeTransfer opened a US office in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, to add to the Amsterdam headquarters. In 2018, WeTransfer acquired popular creative apps Paper® and Paste® and expanded its US presence to New York City.