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"Madeleine Sackler’s extraordinary It’s a Hard Truth Ain’t It was shot entirely at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, a maximum-security state prison near Indianapolis."
- Village Voice
"It’s a Hard Truth, Ain’t It is an affecting and enlightening glimpse at the stories of thirteen incarcerated men imprisoned at the Pendleton Correctional Facility in Indiana."
“Clifford Elswick is especially thoughtful, not only during his interviews, but when he interviews his fellow inmates. He’s an excellent interviewer, probing and following-up on responses that pique his curiosity.”
“It’s a Hard Truth Ain’t It is the first widely released documentary to be directed by men still incarcerated in a maximum security prison, but its innovative storytelling doesn’t stop there. As the prisoners interview each other and come to terms with how they received decades-long sentences, their memories are depicted in animated sequences by Yoni Goodman, of “Waltz With Bashir” fame.”
“But the reflexive film-within-a-film structure doesn’t distance the viewer from its subjects’ disturbing stories; rather, it intensifies their power. As such the resulting documentary combines the raw impact of Gethin Aldous and Jairus McLeary’s intense immersion in a Folsom Prison group therapy session in “The Work” (2017) with the formal ingenuity of Bing Liu’s “Minding the Gap” (2018).”
- Boston Globe
“O.G.” and “It’s A Hard Truth Ain’t It”, a feature and a documentary from the same film-maker, offer an honest portrayal of incarceration"
- The Economist
"By asking them to interview each other, the director gives the men, who have been stripped of the ability to make decisions about their lives, the power to tell their own stories."
- The Marshall Project
"TFF docs also go gritty, as Madeleine Sackler’s It's a Hard Truth Ain't It no doubt shows.
- Film Journal
“In both films the sense of restorative justice, in which the inmate takes responsibility for their crimes as a part of his rehabilitation, seamlessly integrates into the plot.”
“There has never been anything quite like the dual production of O.G. and It's A Hard Truth Ain't It, and perhaps these films will spark an interest in other filmmakers to expand their own storytelling.”
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