For Emmy-winning filmmaker Brad Pruitt, it’s function over form. Although his past few projects have been documentaries – Bending Toward the Light about education and Mark My Words about spoken-word poets – Pruitt is returning to narrative for his upcoming film, Behind Closed Doors. Narrative just makes sense for this story, he says. The film follows five neighbors who live in the same apartment building in Milwaukee. It’s a film about connections and community, race and economics. The story had been developing in his mind for years.
But the time to act is now. “It feels like the moment is demanding I make this film,” he says. The breakdown of community – seen in events like the Sikh Temple shooting, the death of Trayvon Martin and even the racist responses to the first Indian-American Miss America – is a concept that both alarms and inspires the filmmaker. He’s been writing, directing and producing for more than a decade, and his projects generally focus on specific issues. And this is a big one. “If we are not of one community,” he says, “we’re going to be in trouble on every level.”