ShortList 2017: How Incarceration Doc ‘Alone’ Highlights ‘Universal Importance of Love’ (Video)

Short film follows Alone Watts, who becomes a single mother overnight when her partner is jailed

Filmmaker Garrett Bradley explores the impact of a husband’s incarceration on a single mother in her documentary short film, “Alone.” She says her film offers a “critical way of talking about love and the universal importance of love for all people.”

In an interview with TheWrap, Bradley said that the story came to her because she had worked with Desmond, the incarcerated subject of the film, in her first feature film, titled, “Below Dreams.” And she stayed close to the subject matter after production completed.

“I was close with his family and got to know his girlfriend, Alone, and I got a phone call from her that he had been arrested,” Bradley said. “I had initially just stepped in to help her because she had become a single mom overnight and I was helping her out. In the process of doing that, it became less about his case and more about how their relationship was affected by his incarceration. I felt like it was a critical way of talking about love and the universal importance of love for all people and how people needed affection and need the human touch.”

The eponymous title is one of 12 finalists in TheWrap’s ShortList Film Festival, presented with support from IMAX. In it, Alone has to come to terms with the fact that her partner, Desmond, is incarcerated but is still awaiting a trial and a hearing. The reason for his incarceration is never mentioned, but the documentary explores how groups of people are unfairly treated while in prison.

“He was incarcerated for about a year and a half and the reason we didn’t wanna talk about it was because he hasn’t been given a trial or a hearing yet,” Bradley explained. “That’s a common thing that happens: People are getting arrested and waiting to get representation. That’s actually against the law. You have a right to be innocent until proven guilty. He is part of a whole of a group of people that are being treated unfairly.”

The whole film, clocking in at 13 minutes, is shot in black and white: “It just felt like a natural transition and there is also metaphorical and philosophical connection to the issue at hand, of the issue being black and white, and what it means of being in the inside of incarceration and the outside of incarceration,” she explained.

The hardest part in the process of making this short film, Bradley said, was to stay removed from the issue that affects many people all over the country.

“I think that the most difficult part was being an observer of the situation,” she said. “As a documentary filmmaker, you are constantly put in a position of going between being a human being who is close to situation versus being a filmmaker, where you are legally not able to participate or influence a story. That is an inner conflict that one goes through and the only solace that you find is that you will do this story justice and you are going to get it out there and you won’t be silenced.”

Watch the short film above. Viewers can also screen the films at any time during the festival at Shortlistfilmfestival.com and vote from Aug. 8-22. Presented with support from IMAX.