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Directed by James Burns, Shal Ngo

Produced by Chris Wilson, Jake Ewald, Gabriela Dematteis

USA, 2020

15 min

The Box is a hybrid short film that combines documentary, stop-motion animation, and cinematic vignettes to immerse our audience in the world of solitary confinement. We interview three people who have spent a combined 9 years in solitary, one of whom is of the two directors of the film, James Burns. All three stories are told at the same time and progressively build onto one another, each subject telling a different chapter from the same book. This is a story about the value of human connection and a group of survivors who lost everything but found light in the darkness. We see how they ended up in solitary, how that experience brought them to the darkest place imaginable, and how they struggled against all odds to find freedom and a meaningful life on the outside.

When you lean in and start crying, you know you’re engaged in a film. I know they are in no way comparable but, my first thought was that I couldn’t handle being stuck in my apartment for most of last year. I can’t even imagine the mental anguish you go through in solitary confinement. Directors James Burns and Shal Ngo show us the “value of human connection through a group of survivors.”

— Becky Murdoch - Festival Director

Saturday, August 21 at 7:00 PM

Assistance League Theatre

Playing with

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