The Deeper They Bury Me

  • Angad Bhalla, Ted Biggs
  • Canada
  • 2015
  • Digital
  • International Premiere
  • IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling, DocLab: Seamless Reality, DocLab Program
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.

Credits

  • color
  • cross-platform
  • Spoken languages: English
Director
Angad Bhalla, Ted Biggs
Production
Anita Lee for National Film Board of Canada, Lisa Valencia-Svensonn for Storyline Entertainment
Executive producer
Ed Barreveld for Storyline Entertainment
Animation
Nicolas Brault
Developer
Heather Grieve, Mike Robbins

IDFA history

2015
International Premiere
IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling
DocLab: Seamless Reality
DocLab Program

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IDFA history

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