The controversial use of long-term solitary confinement is one of the most pressing issues of the American prison system currently in public debate. America embraces this practice at almost every level of the system—local jails, state and federal prisons, mental health facilities. Few fiction films have explored the darker psychological effects of extreme isolation within U.S. prisons from the inmate’s point of view.
One part documentary-like realism, one part surrealistic trip, the film aims to bring about further discussion, reexamination, and ultimately repeal of this torture through a nuanced, intimate, and provocative portrait of the mental decline and dehumanization faced by inmates in solitary confinement.
This narrative short film will be produced in partnership with Motion Poems (a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding access to poetry and supporting independent film artists) and Produced by a 2016 Oscar nominee and Emmy winner, from a poem written by award winning poet Suzannah Nevison, humanizing one prisoner's experience within this abusive criminal justice system.
WHY DOES THIS FILM NEED TO BE MADE?
Some of the most creative and engaging stories today are being told through short films. In a politically-charged climate, short films focused vision and progressive style can act as a spotlight on our current conditions and highlight ideologies that define them.
This short film, a window into a prisoners point of view, is part of the resistance. In a prison system programmed to deny witness, we offer a glimpse of the torture inside to those outside, and remind them of the humanity held in virtual coffins within solitary walls.
Our hope with "Cell Watch Strip Cell" is to offer a narrative exploration of this vital human rights issue by using our collaborative voices—one poet and one filmmaker—to share our ideas and inform, to help build momentum, and to catalyze social change. Not the product of a Hollywood studio, but of citizens trying to offer a different viewpoint of the subject.
General Public, Lawmakers, Students, Medical Community
We will target a hybrid of festivals, screenings, and online platforms which connect the film with concrete and innovative ways for audiences to become inspired and engaged.
Our production partner Motion Poems reaches over 10,000 people through their films, based on event attendance and online viewing numbers. Fans and followers are from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Austin, Boston, the U.K., France, Portugal, Pakistan, India, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Turkey, Italy, China, Japan, and elsewhere.
USE OF CONTRIBUTION
As "Cell Watch Strip Cell" is a not-for-profit project, your generous contribution will aid in the shooting, finishing and promotion of this short film. We have been able to procure some amazing talent and production partners partial to this cause who are willing to donate their time and facilities to make this happen. In the meantime, we still need to cover additional expenses.
RISK AND CHALLENGES
Without some outside financial help to cover the expenses detailed above, we risk this project not being completed and having the impact we believe it can. With a contribution (large, small or medium) YOU can step forward to help end solitary confinement in prisons—for the safety of our communities, our responsibility to follow international human rights law, to take a stand against torture wherever it occurs, and for the sake of our common humanity.
Thank you for your consideration and support,
Director of "Cell Watch Strip Cell"
(Credits: Documentary footage and sound in opening video courtesy of Frontline "Solitary Nation.")
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