Chelsea Manning left a military prison in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, early Wednesday morning after serving seven years on an espionage sentence, and will already star in her own documentary film about her return to civilian life.
Manning received a 35 year sentence for leaking thousands of classified documents and videos to Wikileaks, but former President Obama commuted 28 years of that sentence before leaving office. Manning posted a shot of her Converse shoes to Instagram as she left her holding facility.
She walked out of prison still on active duty with the US military, because soldiers serving out prison terms are still considered to be active duty, but most experts suspect she will be dishonorably discharged before the end of the week.
To facilitate her return to civilian life, a program called “Hugs for Chelsea” has raised more than $100,000 so that she can find housing and private health insurance. Artists have contributed to a project also named Hugs for Chelsea, to help raise funds for her living expenses.
And on Wednesday Purse Films announced at the Cannes Film Festival, that they’re beginning a documentary following Chelsea as she adapts to the real world after seven years in prison, for crimes the American government claims—and many fellow military and former military concur—put American soldiers in harms way.
The documentary, called XY Chelsea, was onsite at Leavenworth Wednesday morning. “When I first wrote to Chelsea at the military prison in Kansas, she could not be filmed, nor could I communicate with her in any way other than through letters,” the film’s director told Rolling Stone as the cameras rolled.
“Regardless, I believed it was imperative to find a creative way to engage with her life and story. Now, with Chelsea emerging from confinement, the journey of this film has reached its most historic and exciting moment.”
The documentarians did not comment on whether Manning would receive any proceeds from the project. Manning, in addition to the normal costs of civilian life, is facing the cost of continuing her transition from male to female, begun while she was under confinement.