A prison guard must make a decision that will either save or condemn a criminal, and puts his own daughter at risk. Inspired by actual events, “Catching Up” is a short film written and directed by Mary Ratliff.
In 1985, a guard at the county jail deals with a troublesome inmate and a surprise visit from his family. In 1996, that inmate finds a teenage girl stranded on the side of the road, her car beyond repair. As both stories unfold, the inmate, the guard, and his family all discover how the decisions you make today can greatly change your future.
The film itself is a nine minute short, shot on 16mm film in Pulaski, Virginia. It is based on Ratliff’s experiences growing up there, as well as stories she was told about her father’s job as a guard at the county jail in the 80’s and early 90’s. These early memories of meeting inmates, eating with her dad at work, and seeing prison life first hand all helped shape the person that she would become. While the jail itself has closed, the crew of Catching Up were able to film there, capturing the authentic look and feel of a small county Sheriff’s Department in the 80’s.
The script and the film are very personal to Ratliff, and has been recognized as the winner of the 2011 Vision Award for Outstanding Thesis Project, and the 2010 Will Interactive Dramatic Short Screenplay Award. The screenplay was a finalist in the DC Shorts Screenwriting Competition and was nominated for the Vision Award for Best Short Screenplay. It was selected as part of a DC Film Alliance live reading in April of 2010.
In 2015, the finished film was given an Award of Recognition from the Best Shorts Competition.