Editor's Note




noun: the state of being confined in prison; imprisonment.

"the public would not be served by her incarceration"

synonyms: imprisonment, internment, confinement, detention, custody, captivity, and restraint

In the shadow of routine I.C.E roundups, heightened awareness of the prison industrial system, and increasing number of inmates flooding into the American prison population, there still seems to be a general lack of contemporary cultural studies surrounding the visual nature of imprisonment and how it pertains to women. SVLLY(wood) seeks to remedy this growing concern with the final installment of our first volume titled issue.3: INCARCERATION! We’re dedicating this issue to exploring the diverse and under-profiled sub genre of women in prison cinema, the politics of captivity in visual media, and the radical creatives behind the scenes!  

Incarceration takes many forms courtesy of the expanding template of the prison system. Whether it’s detention facilities for minors, for-profit prisons, or immigration detention centers: the physical bounds of the carceral state ironically mirrors the diverse representation of imprisonment on screen. The copious amount of narratives could lay the foundation of a feminist playground for filmmakers that could embrace sisterhood and rebellion yet the celluloid legacy of women locked up promotes a heightened sense of torture and eroticism that’s eager to please the male gaze.

In issue.3, we’ve curated another special dispatch of film criticism’s best emerging voices that seek to uncover the ‘beauty and brutality’ behind women in captivity in the moving image. Willow Maclay, who contributed in issue.1 THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE REDUX, returns with a essay on the visual language behind cult classic, Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion (1972) and the recurring tropes of Women in Prisons (commonly referred to as W.i.P). We also profile Chinonye Chukwu’s Ohio based filmmaking collaborative, Pens to Pictures which teaches and empowers incarcerated women to make their own short films, from script to screen. NYC based writer and programmer, Tayler Montague investigates non-verbal communication of black womanhood in prison cinema in underrated films such as Civil Brand (2002) and Woman Thou Art Loosed (2004)  while London based writer and co-creator of Eye Want Change film festival, Jade Jackman reflects on the making of her 2018 BFI Future Film nominated short documentary, Calling Home, centering on a female asylum seeker inside Yarl’s Wood detention centre. In a photo-essay, recent Brown University graduate and film critic, Devika Girish explores a rare female-centric Hindi drama Bandini (1963) while our founding editor (that’s me!) interviews socially engaged documentary filmmaker, Brett Story on her stunning debut feature, The Prison in 12 Landscapes (2016). Harvard PhD student and author of 2018’s critically acclaimed anti-prison book, “Carceral Capitalism”, Jackie Wang is featured in our new segment: BAD BITCHES LINK UP! Critical Resistance assists young radicals on how to get involved with prison abolishment and The New Inquiry encourages readers to take advantage of their new Bail Bloc software, a cryptocurrency scheme against bail in our new Q&A edition.

We hope you can engage with this issue in a meaningful way and critique state operations that believe in caging people especially harming the most marginalized around us (poor, working class, immigrant, refugee, trans, and gender nonconforming folk). Help us spread this underground magazine in your neck of the woods. ‘Til next time, keep SVLLY alive!