Through the character study of one prisoner’s experience in solitary confinement we will explore visually the effects this extreme isolation has on human beings psyche - the “prison within the prison.”


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A visceral window into the practice of solitary confinement, we open on a modern prison cell (its measurements 80 square feet, smaller than a typical horse stable). It is here that most of our film takes place, as our inmate in solitary is kept in this cell 23 hours a day. It is marked by a total or near-total lack of human interaction and natural light. We will illustrate our characters colorless day-to-days, which are largely spent trying to stave off madness and monotonous routines. This type of prison system primarily breeds rage, loneliness, and psychological issues verging on outright insanity, which our actor will depict. Inmates in solitary, for example, have been found to engage in self-mutilation, suicidal thoughts and/or uncontrollable anger, making them more of a danger to themselves. It can move on into degrading your soul, your spirit.

The main thing the film wishes to project, is in addition to the isolation, the being alone inside of a cell, is the voicelessness and the helplessness that you feel behind that door. The cell is small but the emotions are large, the camera will work on the viewer psychologically and emotionally to guide our perception of the space in which we can almost feel the walls closing in. We will illustrate the tension and the claustrophobia felt by the prisoner through use of longish lenses, throwing the backgrounds out of focus, keeping it about the character, where the cell almost disappears. But when we want to bring the place back, we shoot wider, see two corners, realize just how tiny it is. We will show that in that cell, by yourself, you can essentially lose grasp on what’s real, what’s not. Surreal imagery will be used to help depict this mental breakdown. Along with non-linear editing and sound choices we hope to challenge the form of cinema and try to represent the way a prisoner see’s the world creatively and accurately.

The film will attempt to demonstrate how solitary confinement within the US prison institution cultivates physical and emotional brutality in everyone who steps through its gates. Solitary brutalizes the incarcerated and in some cases may even make them more likely to hurt others when they get out. Overall, the “cell” is not designed for humanity but in contrast “strips” it away.



Consider the cell not as you see it 

but as it comes to be: a world

unto itself, the garden, uncharted 

and rife with wildness, beasts unnamed.

One man to one small room—you 

grant him dominion so that he might

render the room expansive and rich, 

his kingdom, stretch his mind 

indefinitely. But since this is the beginning

of the world, it’s up to you

to define the edges, contour

the known, to introduce the common

language: show him how this world 

is nothing more than God’s hand

grenade spinning through the air. 

From the burning, you won’t save him. 

You’ll build a room within a room, 

another world to hold what’s left 

of this one. A box, rough pomegranate 

wood, inlaid. Inside, a body’s rough

material, a gift to God, a rib.