Blue Room - 2022
In two US prisons, participants in a mental health experiment watch nature videos on loop, prompting them to reflect on isolation and wilderness.
– edited and associate produced by Isidore Bethel / directed and produced by Merete Mueller
– Hot Docs, BFI London FF, New Orleans FF, Raindance FF, Prismatic Ground, Mountainfilm, Rooftop Films, Tacoma FF, Indie Memphis, Hot Springs Documentary FF, Nashville FF, Woodstock FF
– 12 minutes
– with support from IF/Then Shorts|Field of Vision, Rooftop Films Short Film Fund, John Logan Family Foundation, and Mountainfilm in Telluride
– Filmmaker: “An inverse form of psychiatric conditioning appears in Merete Mueller’s ‘Blue Room,’ in which participants within two US prisons take part in a ‘mental health experiment’ by watching nature videos on loop. When one participant describes thinking about the room where he watches the nature videos when he sees glimpses of trees outside, one only hopes that deconditioning is still possible.”
– ForReel Movies: “Just like how watching footage of nature is meditative for the inmates, the documentary itself becomes a meditative experience for the audience…The minimalism of ‘Blue Room’ speaks volumes about the isolating conditions inmates endure, the effect that has on their mental health, and how important nature is to our psyche.”