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Beyond the Big Screen

This guide houses resources for the annual Beyond the Big Screen event.

Welcome to the Beyond the Big Screen 
research guide for Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.

This guide contains information about events and contests related to the program, ways to access the book and film, and resources to help you research key themes of the story.


Content Warning: Both film and book contain depictions of violence, suicide, and sexual assault as well as offensive and/or derogatory language. 


Headline Event

Screenings of The Shawshank Redemption
Tuesday, March 5th @ 11 a.m. - Downtown Campus Auditorium, A-1068
Thursday, March 7th @ 5 p.m. - Deerwood Performance Theater, G-1709


Beyond the Big Screen Contest Art Show
March 1-April 26* - The Gallery at Deerwood Center
*Excluding Spring Break

Additional Events:

Advances in Forensic Science: Would Andy Dufresne be convicted today?
When: Wednesday, February 28, 2024 @ 11 a.m.
Where: Kent Campus LLC, Room C-100
Speaker: Julie Sutton

How have advances in forensic sciences impacted solving crimes today? If Andy Dufresne from Shawshank was tried now, would advances in forensic science help save him or convict him? Learn how analysis of blood alcohol, gunshot residue, blood splash pattern, DNA analysis, and even soil has changed and decide what the verdict might be.

Faculty and staff attending this event will be eligible for 1 hour 1% credit:

Completed Event Videos:

Truth & Lies: Comparing legal TV shows, movies, and books to reality
When: Thursday, November 9, 2023 @ 11 a.m.
Where: Downtown Campus LLC,  Room A2102Q
Speaker: Lisa Moore

Legal TV shows, movies, and books (such as Shawshank Redemption) are all around us, but how real is the legal drama they portray?  Join Lisa Moore as she draws from her own experience as prosecutor for the 4th judicial circuit and links in interviews from other legal experts to analyze how accurate these fictional portrayals truly are. 

Watch the video for this event here.  


Have you Created Your Own Prison? Exploring Identity Navigation through Communication Theory 
When:  Monday, February 5, 2024 @ 9:30 a.m. 
Where: Downtown Campus LLC, Room A2102Q
Speaker: Mary Lee Cunill

Shawshank Redemption explores the effects of our environment and relationships on our view of self. In this presentation, you will do a deep dive into your own identity to explore how the way you have shaped your life may have set you up for a life of freedom or entrapment.

Watch the video for this event here.  


The Loss of a Voice
When: Thursday, February 8, 2024 @ 9:30 a.m.
Where: Downtown Campus LLC, Room A2102Q
Speaker: Rebecca Reeder

Sometimes freedom makes you realize just how much freedom you've lost. Come learn about how Shawshank and other total institutions affect the psyche long after you've been released.

Watch the video for this event here. 


Moving Money: When is it a crime?
When: Thursday, February 8, 2024 @ 1:00 p.m. 
Where: Deerwood LLC, Room G2700
Speaker: Matthew Keyes

Money laundering is estimated to be a $300 billion dollar business each year.   What is it?   Why should you care?   How can we prevent it?   In this session we will discuss the basics of how Andy was laundering money in the Shawshank Redemption and how it applies in 2024.

Watch the video for this event here. 


What Do You Really Need? Meeting community needs by employing an Entrepreneurial Mindset
When: Monday, February 12, 2024 @ 10:30 a.m. 
Where: Downtown Campus LLC, Room A2102Q
Speaker: Jeniah Jones

In this interactive discussion, explore how successful entrepreneurs become wildly successful by anticipating, identifying, and meeting needs within their community. Using the examples of Andy Dufresne and “Red” from Shawshank Redemption, delve into strategies to start your own business without having to first raise massive amounts of capital before discussing the importance of reinvention as a strategy to avoid obsolescence.

Watch the video for this event here. 


The Therapeutic Effects of the Arts on Mental Well-Being: Lessons from Shawshank
When: Tuesday, February 13, 11 a.m.-Noon
Where: Downtown Campus LLC, A-2102Q
Speaker: Sarah Stuart

"For the briefest moment, every last man in Shawshank felt free." Through gifts of music and literature, Andy Dufresne shows viewers how creative expression nurtures hope, resilience, and mental well-being. Even in solitary confinement, Andy finds solace in Mozart's works. Music is a recurring symbol of hope and psychological freedom throughout the film. This presentation explores how creativity sparks hope and fortitude in us all, emphasizing that redemption and freedom are internal creations. Andy's message to the warden, that salvation lies within, underscores this theme. Let’s examine societal institutionalization and its psychological constraints, and how the creative arts can help liberate us. The session offers practical tools for unlocking inner freedom and promoting mental health.

Watch the video for this event here. 


The American Prison System: Fifty Years of Doubling Down on Flawed Policies
When: February 21, 2024 @ 9:30 a.m.
Where: Downtown Campus LLC, Room A2102Q
Speaker: Nick Martino

The American prison system has continued to grow in size and scope over the last 50 years ranking in the top two in the world for incarceration. Yet, the policies implemented throughout that time have resulted in higher recidivism rates, and no significant impact on crime rates. We will take an objective and critical look of the failures and successes of the prison system over the last 50 years.

Watch the video for this event here. 



This year, Beyond the Big Screen is hosting an essay contest, an art contest, and a video contest related to The Shawshank Redemption. See below for more details.  

Essay Contest

In The Shawshank Redemption, Andy Dufresne finds himself wrongfully convicted of murder and incarcerated with no hope of being free again. He says, "There is something inside… that they can’t get to, that they can’t touch, that’s yours… hope."

In a 500 to 600-word essay, describe a time you overcame a seemingly insurmountable challenge because you believed in the power of hope.

The essay must be typed and have a creative title specific to the topic of your paper. The essay also must have clear paragraph designations. A submission that appears as one long paragraph will be disqualified. Using a formatting style like MLA or APA is recommended but not required.

Contest Rules:

  • Attach a cover sheet to the essay that includes your name, FSCJ email address and phone number. Contest is open to FSCJ students only.
  • By entering this contest, you consent to having your entry displayed in FSCJ galleries and on the website.
  • Submission deadline is March 1, 2024. Winners will be announced in March.
  • Only one entry per student will be accepted.
  • Essays will be judged by a panel of FSCJ faculty and staff.

Judging Criteria:

  • 50% on addressing the theme's message
  • 30% well-developed paragraphs and clear language
  • 20% on originality

The essay should be organized with well-developed body paragraphs that highlight the subject's abilities and also contain minimal errors in the area of grammar, punctuation and mechanics.

Submission Deadline: March 1, 2024


  • First Place: $300
  • Second Place: $200
  • Third Place: $150

Submit at this website.
For questions, email Professor Antee at

Art Contest

This contest challenges you to visualize the themes present in Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. Create artworks that speak about freedom and confinement, suffering, injustice, hope and/or healing. You may also explore ideas about criminal justice, prison reform and psychology. All works will be displayed at the Deerwood Campus from March 1 – April 26, 2024 (closed for Spring Break).


  • Any FSCJ student may submit up to two (2) artworks or digital media pieces (excluding video).
  • Drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, printmaking, graphic design, digital images, etc. will be accepted.
  • Works must be ready to hang/display when they are submitted. 2D pieces should be either framed or mounted on white or black foam core.
  • Please include your name and the title of the piece on the back or bottom of your work of art.

The contest will be judged by the Wilson Center Director of Programming and Operations and two other FSCJ faculty or staff members.

How to Submit:
Drop off your work in the South Campus Gallery, Wilson Center for the Arts, M1, Room 1110, or the Deerwood Faculty Resource Center, C2300, between February 12 - 21, 2024, along with an entry form available at either location. For submissions after hours or any questions about the contest contact Lynn Lewis at

Submission Deadline:
Submissions: On or before February 21, 2024, 4 p.m.
Return of Work: April 29 – May 3, 2024


  • 1st place $300
  • 2nd place $200
  • 3rd place $100
  • Honorable Mention $100

Video Contest

Record a short video (thirty seconds to two minutes) creatively demonstrating your takeaway from the themes from the Shawshank Redemption. The strongest entries will advance a combination of these powerful themes. They include:

  • Justice
  • Hope
  • Creativity and Problem Solving
  • Isolation
  • Institutionalization
  • Self-Identity


  • This contest is open to all FSCJ students. There is a limit of one entry per student. The work must be original and completed by the student. Multiple entries are not accepted. You must record your own video, upload it to Canvas Studio, then submit the link and your contact information on this form.
  • The video cannot be less than 0:30 (thirty seconds) nor longer than 2:00 (two minutes).
  • All videos will be recorded in a 16:9 aspect ratio. That simply means it is recorded in a wide (landscape), not tall (portrait) format. It should look like it fits on your flat screen TV. It should not be taller than it is wide.
  • You may use any props, filters or special effects you find appropriate. If you are a skilled video editor, advanced editing techniques that enhance your submission are acceptable. However, the work must be your own.
  • By entering this short video contest, you consent to having your entry shown by FSCJ at all events and on social media and elsewhere, now and in the future. Winning entries will be publicly shared with the world as well as posted on the official FSCJ website.

The judging committee is comprised of FSCJ faculty and staff and others. The committee will watch and evaluate your submission based on overall feel, creativity and ability to advance the powerful themes within the movie. The submission that makes the strongest impression on the committee will be determined to be the winner. The video must remain posted for at least one year after the contest ends. Judging committee decisions are final.

How to Submit:
FSCJ Students will record their videos in 16:9 format (wide, landscape). The video will be uploaded to Canvas Studio. Students will create a public URL in Canvas Studio and then submit that URL/link on this form. Submissions from Vimeo, YouTube or any other video platform will not be accepted by the committee. For additional guidance on how to do this, watch these videos review the content at the following links.
How do I upload media files in my Canvas Studio account?
How do I get a public link for media in Canvas Studio?

Submission Deadline:
March 1, 2024 at noon EST (Jacksonville Florida time)


  • 1st Place $200
  • 2nd Place $150
  • 3rd Place: $100

Submit using this form.

For questions email

Access the Book and Film

Related Themes and Resources