Brett Story

Assistant Professor
Innis College, IN-324E, 2 Sussex Avenue, Toronto, ON M5S 1J5


Brett Story is an award-winning filmmaker, geographer and writer. Her films have screened in festivals around the world, including CPH-DOX, the Viennale, SXSW, True/False, and Sheffield DocFest. Her 2016 feature documentary, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes, was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and was a nominee for Best Feature Length Documentary at the Canadian Screen Awards.

Brett’s most recent feature documentary, The Hottest August, was released to critical acclaim in March 2019. The film was a New York Times Critics’ Pick, where it was described as “a cinematic gift, an intellectual challenge, an emotional adventure.” The Hottest August was broadcast on PBS’ Independent Lens in 2020 and was featured in over a dozen best of the year lists, including in Rolling Stone, Vulture, and Vanity Fair magazines.

Brett is the author of the book Prison Land: Mapping Carceral Power Across Neoliberal America, and she holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Toronto. She has held fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Sundance Institute, and MacDowell. Brett was named by Variety as one of 2019’s "10 Documentary Filmmakers to Watch.” Her interests across the fields of documentary and critical theory are expansive, and include experimental cinema and essay films, political geography, critical theory, racial capitalism and Marxist political economy.

Select Films

Select Books

  • Story, B. (2019). Prison Land: Mapping Carceral Power across Neoliberal America. University of Minnesota Press.
  • Story, B., Cowen, D., Paradis, E., and Mitchell, A. eds. (2020), Digital Life in the Global City. University of British Columbia Press: Vancouver.

Select Articles

  • Story, B. (2021) “How Does it End? Story and the Property Form.” World Records Journal, Volume 5.
  • Story, B. and Rangan, P. (2021) “Four Propositions on True Crime and Abolition.” World Records Journal, Volume 4.
  • Story, B. (2021). “Reflections on Dread and Futurity.” Dialogues in Human Geography. Vol 11(2). 329-331.
  • Story, B. and Prins, S. J. (2020) “Connecting the Dots Between Mass Incarceration, Health Inequity, and Climate Change.” American Journal of Public Health.
  • Story, B. (2020). “Fire Camp, Highway, Coal Mine: Geographies of the Carceral Quotidian,” in Paths to the Prison: Histories on the Architecture of Carcerality. Ed. Isabelle C. Kirkham-Lewitt. Columbia Books on Architecture and the City: New York.
  • Story, B. and Schept, J. (2019). “Against Punishment,” Social Justice vol.45, No.4.
  • Story, B., Rangan, P., and Sarlin, P. (2018). “Humanitarian Ethics and Documentary Practice.” Camera Obscura vol.33 no.2: 197-207.
  • Story, B., et. al. (2018). “Forum: The Prison in Twelve Landscapes.” Social Justice vol.44, No.2/3.
  • Story, B. (2017). “Against a Humanizing Prison Cinema: The Prison in Twelve Landscapes and the Politics of Abolition Imagery,” in The Visual Criminology Handbook. Eds. M. Brown and E. Carrabine. Routledge: London.
  • Story, B. (2016). “The Prison and the City: Tracking the Neoliberal Life of the ‘Million Dollar Block.’” Theoretical Criminology vol. 20 (3): 257-276.
  • Story, B. (2015). “Making Sense of Solitary Confinement: Spatial Anti-Sociality as Preemptive Counter-Resistance,” in Historical Geographies of Prisons: Unlocking the Usable Carceral Past. Eds. K. Morin and D. Moran. Routledge: London.
  • Story, B. (2014). “Alone Inside: Solitary Confinement and the Ontology of the Individual in Modern Life.” Geographica Helvetica 69 (Special Edition Social Geography): 355-364.


PhD, University of Toronto
MSc, University of Oxford
BA, McGill University