Oct 26, 2021
Joe Platania & Chris Farina
Books Behind Bars: Seats at the Table documentary

Joe Platania and Chris Farina will speak about the UVA program, Books Behind Bars, featured in the documentary, Seats at the Table. In 2009 University of Virginia faculty member Andrew D. Kaufman founded “Books Behind Bars: Life, Literature, and Leadership,” a community-based literature course that takes university students to a juvenile correctional center. Students meet weekly with youth at a maximum security juvenile correctional center to explore questions of meaning, value, and social justice though life-changing conversations about Russian literature classics. Participants discuss topics ranging from family to death, and success to moral responsibility. These interactions become the catalyst for both groups to learn from one another and share their stories, forming powerful connections and challenging stereotypes. Here’s a link to a UVA website that includes a link to the movie trailer.

Joe graduated from Providence College in 1994, and spent a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, teaching and coaching at Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Houston. He graduated from Washington and Lee University School of Law in 1998, taking a job in Richmond defending death row inmates. Joe came to Charlottesville the following year to work for Jim Hingeley at the then newly opened Charlottesville-Albemarle Public Defenders Office. He joined the Charlottesville Commonwealth Attorney’s Office in 2003 and was elected Commonwealth’s Attorney in 2017. Joe and his wife Chris, a local therapist, have two young children, Avery and Lucia.

Chris Farina is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, with films such as World Peace and Other Fourth Grade Achievements, which premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival, Route 40 and West Main Street, which explores Charlottesville’s Main Street neighborhood.