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THE PRISONER’S SONG

In Post Production

Inspired by Vernon Dalhart’s 1925 hit of the same name, this is a beautifully heartbreaking vignette into the life of an ex convict, who, despite being recently reintegrated into society, feels just as trapped as he was locked away behind bars.

Director: Bilal Haider

Camera: RED Epic MX

Lenses: Zeiss Standard Speeds

March 2019

My third collaboration with Bilal Haider (“Rebar” 2017 and “Track 1” 2018) as well as my first foray into shooting exclusively in 4:3 black and white marked another fantastic opportunity to enjoy learning the craft of cinematography. Originally planned to shoot after just a month of pre-production on a dSLR-level/shoot in a dorm room budget, Bilal and I both decided that this project demanded something a little more. So we delayed the initial shooting days by months to give us a chance to build a real (but still shoe-string) budget and to find the right talent, crew, and locations. This script not only delves into the problems that prisoners face within the prison walls, but the lack of effective rehabilitation convicts go through to fully integrate into society. Based on a real life story, we see an absolutely tragic tale of a prisoner as he tries to put his past behind him to start a new life. I rarely cry, but during some of the takes, I couldn’t help myself from tearing up. We shot for 3 days all over Texas, from a motel room in Georgetown, to an actual decommissioned prison in Waco, to an office building in the heart of Austin. The entire crew was comprised of students, and I was shown once again that it doesn’t matter how old you are or what your experience level is. Beautiful things can come out of some simple hard work and a drive to learn.