"Prison is the village where they live."
- The New Yorker
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
, 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
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
of Gethin Aldous and Jairus McLeary’s intense immersion in a Folsom Prison group therapy session in “The Work” (2017) with the
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
, 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.”
“Those conversations about making the film, combined with the men’s interviews of each other, became the heart of the documentary, in
the most arresting moments of the film
, you hear someone describe what they want to see, and it actually appears on film"
- KCRW, The Document