Blue Room - 2022

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

The New York TimesOp-Docs (Season Nine)

– AFI Fest, BFI London FF, Hot Docs, Ji.hlava IDFF, IFF Boston, New Orleans FF, Raindance FF, Prismatic Ground, Mountainfilm, Rooftop Films, Indie Memphis, Hot Springs Documentary FF, Docpoint Helsinki DFF, Nashville FF, Woodstock FF, Double Exposure Investigative FF, Centre FF, Kendal Mountain FF, Wild & Scenic FF, Fargo FF, DC Environmental FF, Cosmic Rays FF, Buffalo IFF, Blue Danube FF (Austria, Hungary)

– Buffalo IFF Best Short Documentary, McMinnville Short FF Best Environmental Short Film, Lake Stevens FF Best Short Film, Tacoma FF Honorable Mention for Best Documentary Short

– 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.”
Lake Stevens FF Jury Statement: “In a media landscape riddled with lurid details of prison life, ‘Blue Room’ refocused our attention on a quietly devastating aspect of American incarceration…the jury was very impressed by ‘Blue Room’s’ curious gaze and incisive editing.”
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.”
Short of the Week: “A surprising and memorable watch.”
Little Black Book: “Beautifully still.”
Improvised Life: “The film illuminates how essential access to nature is to well-being.”

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