PBS Short Film Festival 2021 Review: A Call Away, Deadly Jails, and Without a Whisper [Final]

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A Call Away

Before watching this film, I had no clue there was a “failure to protect” law in the United States that punished parents for involuntary child abuse. Punishments for voluntary child abuse are understandable, but it becomes a sticky situation when your child is harmed under your care. This particular film attempts to bring attention to the excessive sentencing of mothers under the “failure to protect” law. Following one Oklahoma mother, Clorinda, and her incarceration, she and her mother talk about her story. Clorinda says that she was arrested for child endangerment after her ex-boyfriend harmed her two infant twin boys. The arrest resulted in her serving three life sentences. All while, her ex-boyfriend was sentenced to 25 years for his role in the crime.

Deadly Jails

This is another film about the treatment of inmates in Oklahoma. The film highlights the adverse treatment of the incapacitated by people in service to protect them. It details how a lack of proper training in jail systems and law enforcement can lead to death, especially regarding mental illness and cultural differences.

Without A Whisper

This film highlights the women’s suffrage movement in America and how its origin was synchronized with the local Haudenosaunee tribal women.

In the film, one of the current tribal leaders, Louise, voices her concerns about the lack of documentation on the Haudenosaunee. While she and her people are an integral part of American History, Louise feels troubled not knowing what her ancestors were doing in 1848. As a result, Louise has made it her mission to give the women of Haundnosaunee a voice in American History. Linking up with Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner, the pair have banded together to rewrite history for the present generation of women.

To Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner, the opportunity to work with the Haudenosaunee women and document the significance of their gender roles feels like righting a wrong, essentially giving credit where credit is due.

All 2020 and 2021 short films are still available for viewing on the PBS Short Film Festival website.