A Break In Belonging




In April 1997, Martin Thomas, a popular Kansas City church minister, pled guilty to the murder of a man who he once knew. Never revealing why he took the man’s life, Martin’s family was shattered and left with unanswered questions. Now 65 years old and released from prison, Martin drives himself relentlessly to save ex-convicts from returning to prison, all while striving to rebuild his relationship with his sons. 

Through Martin and his sons, we examine the relationship between Black men and their children. We take a close look at the physical and mental barriers between them along with the generational secrets that restrains the Black family from forward progression


The Team

Shirley Vernae Williams is a director and Emmy-nominated producer who has overseen television series such as History Channel’s “Alone” and “American Restoration” and story produced various series for Refinery29, including “Shady” and “Anomaly,” which generated millions of online views. Other work includes producing high-profile brand content for VaynerMedia and Public Record TV. In 2019, she produced eight short films for the New York Times, and a documentary for the Annenberg Space Of Photography; in 2020, Williams directed a five part series for Adidas and a three part series for the U.S. Virgin Islands. This year she has directed and produced short films for First Response and the Center For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). In 2017, she post-produced the documentary film “Intent To Destroy” with the award-winning director Joe Berlinger; the film premiered at Tribeca Film Festival and was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Historical Documentary. Williams owns and operates Willie B. Productions, a production company focusing on film, television and digital content.

With over 20 years in the entertainment industry, Hollann Sobers is a dynamic leader and production executive overseeing cross-platform entertainment from conception through distribution, with past roles at VH1, Al Jazeera America, and Sundance TV. In her current role as Senior Director of Production for Complex Networks, Hollann oversees the development and execution of all original programming for Complex content and distribution (Originals, News, First We Feast, Pigeon & Planes, Sole Collector and Podcast Network). She is also the Executive Producer of ComplexCon(versations), a panel discussion series on the subjects that drive our culture at the network’s annual ComplexCon tentpole event. Boasting 5 million subscribers, Her work has helped Complex Networks to become one of Fast Company’s 10 Most Innovative Media Companies of 2020. She currently serves on the Television Academy’s Production Executive Peer Group Committee which ideates programming to introduce, educate, and discuss forward focused innovation for production executives, and is a member of Producers Guild of America, New York Women in Film & Television, and the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC).

Anne Coburn is an award-winning medium and genre-crossing writer, director, and producer whose unifying ethos is story and people first. Her experience includes producing long-form documentary and fiction films, audio-based projects, and short-form branded content, as both an ideator and as a project manager. As a producer, she has worked with Oscar, Emmy, and Sundance award-winning documentarians. Recent work includes: director, THIS SIDE OF THE TREES (short film, initial festival submissions); director and producer, NONE OF THE ABOVE (foreign policy podcast, Eurasia Group Foundation); producer, SO PRETTY (Berlin International Film Festival 2019, IndieLisboa 2019, BAM CinemaFest 2019, Fic Valdivia 2019 – Best International Film); producer, co-writer: VOICES OF THE REVOLUTION (2018 Sarah Awards, Best New Artist); producer, co-writer: LEGACY LIVES ON (TVOne, American Black Film Festival 2019, Milwaukee Film Festival 2019, Telly Award (Gold) 2020, Campaign Branded Content – Non-scripted/Documentary).

As we suffer losses upon losses of our loved ones from the twin epidemics of COVID and the U.S. racial injustices, we must grapple with how families heal from these traumas. So many Black children don’t have fathers because their dads are in jail, but both fathers and children desperately need each other. This film shows not only the direct impact of how five different men dealt with losing their father, but also how a father coped with losing his children. “A Break In Belonging” is a deeply moving and honest depiction of a man’s quest to redeem himself, his family and other members of society who have been counted out.

To participate in an opportunity to inspire and educate communities across the world on the following:

  • How parental incarceration affects children and young adults
  • How the criminal justice system is set up to keep ex-felons returning back to prison
  • How secrets prevent families from healing and experiencing breakthroughs
  • The dynamics between Black boys and their fathers


  • Tax deduction
  • Access to premiere and community screenings  
  • “Special Thanks” film credit
  • An opportunity to be apart of the Black Lives Matter movement

Visit the film’s website: www.abreakinbelonging.com

Follow the film on FB: www.facebook.com/ABIBTHEFILM/

Follow the film on Instagram: @ABIBTHEFILM

Follow the film on Twitter: @ABIBTHEFILM