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Loyola University New Orleans Film Instructor Celebrates ALONE on Valentine’s Day

Loyola press release - February 14, 2017

Winner of the 2017 Sundance film Festival Short Film Jury Award, ALONE is a documentary short film focused on mass incarceration and its shaping of love within the modern Black American family.

A new documentary created by a Loyola film professor is shaking up ideas of modern love on Valentine’s Day. The film, ALONE, focuses on single mother Alone Watts, whose fiancé is in jail, forcing her to decide whether to go through with their wedding. A 13-minute documentary short filmed in black and white, ALONE mines layers of mass incarceration and its shaping of love within the modern Black American family. Winner of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Jury Award, the film is released today and can be viewed on The New York Times Op-Docs at nytimes.com/alone.

In a director’s statement, Garrett Bradley, an instructor in Loyola’s new digital film-making program, says:

“Since the 17th century the Black American family has been systematically repressed and controlled. During slavery, parents were torn from their children, and couples sold to separate geographic regions — and the trend has lasted, in other forms, well into contemporary America.

“Today it is seen most acutely in the industrial prison complex. An authoritative report issued last year by the National Research Council concluded, ‘the current U.S. rate of incarceration is unprecedented by both historical and comparative standards.’ In the state of Louisiana, one in 14 African-American Men are incarcerated, a reality that has radiated into the homes of families and loved ones.

“My intention in making ALONE was to explore a female perspective on the prison system. Additionally, I hope viewers will deeply consider ideas around ‘normal’ or ‘healthy’ romantic relationships. How might circumstance require us to investigate the protocols of love and partnership? How might women and wives of inmates become more deeply included in conversations around love and intimacy?”

Considered “one to watch,” Bradley, 31, is a New York native and New Orleans-based filmmaker and artist, whose many awards and honors over the last five years include: the 2017 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Jury Award; 2016 Ford Foundation Grant; 2014 Art Matters Foundation Grant; 2014 Artadia New Orleans Prospect 3 Artist Award; 2014 Gotham Nomination, Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Filmmakers; 2014 The New Orleans Film Festival, Jury Prize; 2014 The New Orleans Film Festival, Best Cinematography; 2014 TriBeCa Film Festival, IndieWire Critics Choice: “Best Narrative Feature, Best Director, Best First Feature;” 2014 13th Annual TriBeCa Film Festival, Creative Promise Award (Nomination); 2014 Nora Ephron Prize (Nomination); and 2013 The Adrienne Shelly Directors Grant, IFP/Adrienne Shelly Foundation (Finalist).

ALONE was made with the support of The New York Times / Op-Docs and the Sundance McArthur Short Film Fund. Begun by the The New York Times Opinion section in 2011, Op-Docs is an Emmy award-winning series of short, interactive and virtual-reality documentaries. Each film is produced with wide creative latitude by both renowned and emerging filmmakers, and has an exclusive online premiere across Times platforms. Op-Docs has published more than 200 films; garnering six Emmy nominations and two wins, an Oscar nomination, a Peabody award, Online News Award, World Press Photo award, and Photo of the Year.

The film ALONE, which will be released today at 3 p.m. on Op-Docs, stars New Orleans resident Alone Watts and her boyfriend Desmond Watson. The film is directed and edited by Bradley and produced by Lauren Domino and Dolly Turner, with cinematography by Zac Manuel and additional cinematography by Justin Zweifach and Paavo Hanninen. Kathleen Lingo served as the film’s executive producer; she was assisted by coordinating producer Lindsay Crouse and supervising editor Andrew Blackwell. Music for the film was scored by Jonathan Zalben. Dorian Celestian managed production sound; Zack Howard led sound design.

The film was a learning opportunity in more ways than one, Bradley said. Loyola digital filmmaking senior Daniela Leal served as the film’s assistant editor, working side by side with her professor. Leal joined Bradley in January at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, where ALONE was one of 68 short films accepted this year. Sundance is an Oscar-qualifying festival in the documentary shorts category, and so ALONE automatically qualifies for 2018 Oscar consideration.

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