Bay area based director Cali Bondad teamed up with the journalist Gabrielle Canon who had been examining the conditions of inmates living in long-term isolation at Pelican Bay State Prison. After gaining a one day access visit to Pelican Bay Prison, the two decided to make a visual a documentary as a accompaniment to Canon’s written piece.
‘It was important to keep the film as stripped-down and raw as possible, not getting stuck in the weeds on a certain political or social angle. The most important theme of the film was to share the human experience of the inmates living in long-term isolation.’
‘We filmed with a small crew of 5 people and stayed at the Budget Inn of Crescent City, CA. We quickly discovered the following: the bars closed at 9:30pm, the majority of the town worked at the prison, and there was a recurring theme of carved wooden animals in every store. Our tour of the prison was surreal and emotionally trying. We had exposure to the most isolated and secure areas of the prison – we spoke with inmates that hadn’t held a normal conversation in ten years or so. It was an enlightening and haunting experience.’