Troop 1500

Troop 1500

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Troop 1500

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Troop 1500 is a documentary film about a unique Girl Scouts of the USA troop which unites mothers and daughters monthly behind the bars at the Hilltop Unit, a prison of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, in Gatesville, Texas. All of the mothers have been convicted of serious crimes and are serving long sentences.

The troop’s activities are centered on rebuilding the tenuous relationships, and addition to arts and crafts and learning life skills, the mothers and daughters bond by asking and answering tough questions of each other.

For more than five years, filmmaker Ellen Spiro worked with the leaders and girls of Troop 1500, the “prison troop,” as a volunteer and mentor. She spent the first year with the troop training the girls in cinematography, sound and editing, and then she began making Troop 1500 in which the girls occupy front and center of the film, as subjects as well as crew.

Troop 1500 is an example of Spiro’s innovative style of filmmaking which requires an interpersonal and intimate involvement with her subject over a long period of time.


  • American Women in Radio & Television (AWRT) 32nd annual Gracie Award
  • Individual Achievement Award for Outstanding Director
  • Outstanding Documentary (long format division)
  • Commendation from the Texas State Legislature (Senate Resolution 545)


Austin, Liz. Amarillo Globe News. 2006-3-18. Retrieved on 2007-6-24.

Evans, Kate. 2006-4-20. Retrieved on 2007-6-24.

Geisler, Erin. The...
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