A short mobile documentary welcomes you on a long bus journey to prison

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Get on the bus

A line is forming. Women, kids, pillows, large bags of food. All passengers are getting ready to visit their loved ones in prison.

By Nirit Peled & Sara Kolster

Waiting for the bus

Women and children gather on the busy side walk of 34th street in midtown, New York City. Some shelter from the heaving crowds in the McDonald's, staring out the big glass window, waiting for their bus to arrive. They are all carrying stuffed travel bags, many take pillows and blankets with them, some have their hair wrapped up, ready for a night of sleep. The waiting is long, the bus is late…


When the bus finally appears, they line up and greet the driver, Junior, as they board. This private bus service leaves every weekend to transport families visiting their loved ones in the far away upstate prison facilities. There is no public transport to take you to these ‘prison towns’. It’s a 15 hours travel through the rural landscapes of New York State. The busses travel directly to the prisons. Mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives and children take this trip frequently – and in some way they are incarcerated with their loved ones.

Film still

Unusual journey

By saving A Temporary Contact to your phone you can join Amanda during her unusual journey to visit her brother in prison. Amanda is a 20 years old student from Brooklyn, New York. She is taking the bus to visit her brother in prison. Experiencing such a reality through an intimate and constant flow of information will give you a chance to really spend time with Amanda and the other women on this bus, and understand the consequences of their situation. During the course of her ride you will receive short audiovisual messages. Your time is parallel to the journey time. So when it’s 10.30 for you, it’s also 10.30 for Amanda. This bus journey will allow you to enter Amanda’s world, listen to her thoughts and reflections while she is on the bus and learn about these women who keep visiting their men in prison – with persistence and love.

Even if I don't go there everyday, I feel like I'm in jail everyday
Teaser | A Temporary Contact
You're going to a place where there is nothing there, but trees and grass out. You look out the window, like damn, I'm going to a facility. But I am also about to see somebody I love though...

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How it works

To follow the journey on WhatsApp

1. Click the button: Start the Journey
2. WhatsApp opens up, please send the pre-filled message to the designated number
3. You're all set! Just follow the story, and when asked, don't forget to save the contact on your phone

To follow the journey on Messenger

No What'sApp? Don't worry, you can start the journey on Facebook Messenger here. If problems occur, please don't hesitate to contact us.





A Temporary Contact is made by film maker/artist Nirit Peled and interactive director Sara Kolster. The project is developed within the framework of the veryveryshort competition, a NFB and ARTE co-production in collaboration of IDFADoclab. Very very short is a collection of 10 interactive projects for smartphones, exploring the theme of mobility through very, very short experiences – all under 60 seconds.



  • Creators Nirit Peled & Sara Kolster
  • Camera Aafke Beernink
  • Editor Wietse de Swart
  • Additional editing Paul Delput
  • Sound mix Sander den Broeder
  • Color Maurik de Ridder
  • Developer Martijn Eerens
  • Scripting Wireless Services
  • Music Amit Gur & Itai Weissman
  • Cast Amanda, Diamond, Gina, Latoya and Stephany
  • Research help Ilja Willems, Five Mualimm-ak, Ray Simmons
  • Special thanks Katie Turinski, Junior from Flambouyant Transportation Inc., Het Raam, Hortense Lauras
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  • ARTE
  • Digital Dev Chief Gilles Freissinier
  • Editorial Manager Marianne Levy-Leblond
  • Program Producers Marie Berthoumieu, Emilie Bessard
  • Project management Stéphane Nauroy
  • Community manager Léa Jagut
  • Administrator Jerôme Vernet
  • Production Managers Claire Aubret, Angèle Le Névé, Juliette Droillard
  • Translation Christian Stonner
  • ARTE Studio Lab Clément Dhamelincourt, Vincent Chagny, Noé Daudin-Clavaud
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  • Executive Producer Hugues Sweeney
  • Production Managers Marie-Pier Gauthier, Nathalie Bédard Morin
  • Editorial Manager Valérie Darveau
  • Tech director Martin Viau
  • Production Caroline Fournier, Claudia Boutin, Dominique Brunet
  • Administrator Marie-Andrée Bonneau
  • Marketing Tammy Peddle, Florent Prevelle
  • Social Media Kate Ruscito
  • Web content Félix-Antoine Viens
  • Press Relations Marie-Claude Lamoureux, Pat Dillon
  • IT Sergiu Suciu
  • Legal Services Peter Kallianiotis
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  • Call for projects Caspar Sonnen, Wotienke Vermeer, Michael Zbieranowski
  • Thanks Caspar Sonnen, Ziv Schneider, Jouke Vuurmans, Julia Kaganskiy, Myriam Achard, Florent Maurin, Jepchumba, Marie Berthoumieu, Hugues Sweeney, Rafaella Wang, Zina Kisch

Thanks to the support of: