A program of short stories that would never have existed without the internet.
A prisoner in Louisiana since 1972, Herman Wallace tells the disturbing story of his solitary confinement in a series of interactive animations.
Ever since a controversial conviction for the murder of a prison guard in 1972, Herman Wallace has been living in solitary confinement in Louisiana State Penitentiary. This interactive documentary allows the user to look around both his cramped cell and the imaginary home he was asked to design by the artist Jackie Sumell, who was curious about what sort of dream house such a long-term prisoner would come up with. Wallace’s world opens up, step by step, as the user moves around it. Behind some of the objects in the cell and the house we find a short video clip in which Wallace provides information, as if in a telephone conversation. He talks about the consequences of his isolation, the permanent camera surveillance, the lack of privacy and his mental deterioration. Animations depict his dreams and desires, while archive footage and clips from interviews with those who were there illustrate the bizarre penal system in the United States. Wallace’s temporary relocation to a communal dormitory is a high point in his existence. But it’s also a short stint, because soon afterwards he’s back living under the harsh daily regime of 23 hours in his cell and one hour of exercise. We’re allowed to walk wherever we want, but for no longer than 20 minutes, which is the maximum amount of time a prisoner can spend on the phone each day.
Selected for IDFA 2015 and eligible for the IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling and the IDFA DocLab Award for Immersive Non-Fiction.
Presented as part of the DocLab: Seamless Reality program by IDFA and De Brakke Grond as an interactive installation from 19-29 November.
The Award-winning National Film Board of Canada produces and distributes bold and innovative documentary, animation, alternative drama, and and digital media productions.
IDFA DocLab is the New Media program of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). Since 2007, the program showcases new forms of documentary storytelling and interactive media art, both online and offline. During the IDFA Festival in November, DocLab presents a competition program for Digital Documentary Storytelling, live cinema events, interactive installations, workshops and industry panels. The program is open to all media that can be used to tell a documentary story.