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Rewilding, A Film by Jess Spiegel

Anthony DeJesus, a formerly incarcerated young man from the Bronx, had never left the city. He was raised by the system and influenced by a culture of drugs and gang violence. In and out of foster care and juvenile institutions, Anthony is no stranger to imprisonment and homelessness.


In the documentary film Rewilding, Anthony leaves the familiar behind and  joins two adventurers on an 8-week journey across the Western United States, in a van! Through their experiences traveling, climbing, practicing yoga and farming, the three explored friendship, love, communication, adventure and happiness.



We believe that by facilitating this one transnational journey, we can foster many more. This documentary series is the stepping stone toward the creation of Rewilding’s Alternative Adventure Retreat (RAAR): A place for wilderness immersion, self-discovery, adventure, and sustainability education. The RAAR team is dedicated to sharing the opportunities we offer with communities that would otherwise not have access to such experiences.

The formerly incarcerated population is one of the communities with the least access to these types of experiences and we believe is one of the communities that would benefit the most from access.

Rewilding has partnered with seven transition programs in NYC (The Bronx and Harlem) that assist formerly incarcerated young men as they transition back into their communities after incarceration. RAAR will offer these men an opportunity to leave the city and head west where they will participate in a variety of hands-on activities aimed at developing leadership skills and promoting growth and healing.


Inspiration for the Film

We see social injustice in society. We see guys just like us with little opportunity to change their situation and it seems unfair. Instead of feeling paralyzed in inaction, we want to do something about it. We think we can help by sharing what we love which is adventure and the great outdoors. We believe that access to new experiences, people and ideas is one of the greatest vehicles for personal growth. We want to help make these types of experiences more available to our peers who otherwise wouldn’t have access to them. There are many wilderness programs for urban youth. There are no such programs for formerly incarcerated young men. Until now!


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