Film professor and student win Sundance Award

Caleb Beck

Loyola film professor and director Garrett Bradley featured her film “Alone” at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah this past Friday. Shortly after, the film took the Short Film Jury Award for Best Non-Fiction Film. The thirteen-minute film “Alone” is a documentary about the effects of mass incarceration on modern love through the eyes of Alone Watts, a New Orleans native who was prepared to marry her fiancé, as he awaited his his prison sentence.

Winning out over 68 other short films, “Alone” is now immediately qualified for a 2018 Oscar consideration.

Bradley commented that making the film wasn’t about directly tackling the issue of mass incarceration. She hopes the film can simply influence opinion through advocating change and compassion.

“The most I can hope for is that people empathize with a real issue being discussed right now. I wouldlike to see this film broaden the idea of what relationships are capable of,” Bradley said.

Bradley’s filmmaking team was joined by film senior Daniela Leal, who served as assistant editor for “Alone,” and joined Bradley at Sundance. Leal described the process of working on the documentary as rewarding and eye-opening.

“Working in this role was awesome. It was the first time I’ve ever done work in post-production and was a true hands-on experience,” Leal said.

The team cited handling the emotional weight behind the characters being captured as one of the key aspects of making “Alone.”

“The most difficult challenge of working on this film was trying to convey emotion in a way that other people can feel but can’t place themselves in,” Leal said.

“It’s important to be able to share respect for anyone I’m filming. I have to show respect to their space and their sense of comfort, and in turn, I’m allowed, so to speak, to perform my job, which aside from the technicalities, is translating emotions through image,” said cinematographer Zac Manuel.

“Alone,” as well as Bradley’s previous films, including “Below Dreams” (2014) and “Cover Me” (2015) are set in New Orleans and show empathic character depictions through the city’s diversity and scenery.

“To be engaged in the world, you have to ask if justice is being formed or not. My interest has always been using art to tell intimate, personal tales. I think art serves to show what is good, honest and intentional in our society,” Bradley said.

The production team said winning the award was an honor, but not necessarily their goal.

“I trust the caliber of our work and the grace and attention to detail in which Garrett tells stories, so in that sense, no I was not surprised.” Manuel said.

“Definitely didn’t see this coming at all.” Very grateful for the experience and the inspiration that came from it,” Leal said. “We“Alone” is set to be released on Feb. 14 through the New York Times’ OpDocs