Sickness in the System exposes the prison system’s failure to protect its population. 

Through intimate stories from those inside San Quentin prison, Bryan Gibel’s film takes us into their experience. At the beginning of the pandemic, none of the 3,500 people incarcerated at the prison tested positive for COVID-19. 6 weeks later, almost 50% of the population was infected from a botched prisoner transfer, making it the worst hotspot in the country. Through two men’s stories, the film exposes the prison’s negligence as the pandemic raged. 

Combining phone interviews with incarcerated people with performances by actors and hand-drawn illustrations, Sickness in the System shows the failures that allowed the pandemic to rage on the inside. 

This film is directed by Bryan Gibel, an independent filmmaker living in Oakland, California. His work has been awarded the Saul Zaentz Award from the Berkeley Film Foundation and a National MediaMaker Fellowship from the Bay Area Video Coalition and has been shown by the Independent Film Center in New York and the Los Angeles Times. 

Watch Sickness in the System now at

Field of Vision is a filmmaker-driven documentary unit that commissions, creates, and supports original short-form and feature-length nonfiction films and episodic series about developing and ongoing stories around the globe.