As most of you have read up on, I’ve been heavily working on my passion project Forced into Silence for the past month and am happy to announce that, after three years of film production, and a total of five years of planning, researching, pre and post production the documentary is finally completed and ready to make its festival rounds – which has already officially begun, since on Monday, April 4 – I sent the first submission kit out for consideration!
I have to admit, there were many days in the past that I wondered if this film was ever going to see the light of day. I wondered why I wasn’t being awarded either a filming grant or journalism grants to finance the film. I wondered if I was doing the right thing, or if I was even taking the right steps to get my film made. But one thing I never once second guessed was that the message of the film had to be heard.
I remember when I first began production on the film, when I began reaching out to therapists and former victims of sexual assault and domestic violence; I was invited to give a talk at a college in New York. During the talk I was asked by one of the students if I would ever give up on making this film. My short and quick answer was “no”. The student, a young female who seemed surprised by my rapid response followed up her inquiry with “no matter how long it takes?” again, I said “no matter how long it takes” and I explained that I’ve known of filmmakers having to wait seven years to complete films and release them. A most famous and perfect example would be that of Richard Linklater’s Boyhood – granted it is not a documentary, but to dedicate oneself entirely to a film and it’s message that it took about 12 years to make – I could think of no better example of dedication to the making of a film. This was something I was ready to do with Silence.
During a prolonged moment of frustration at what seemed to be the end of my project, I decided I wasn’t going to let it die. There was no way that I was going to give up on something that I was so determined in making since 2012. Most importantly, I didn’t want to leave male victims without a voice – something, that while there have been more reports about men being victimized in current mainstream media – is still a challenge for many people to admit, believe and even face. Their voices need to be heard. The crippling social stigmas need to be challenged, so does the extreme factions of both a patriarchal way of thinking and feminism.
The way we’re living is changing. We need to change with it.
This documentary means a lot to me. Not because of the responsibility that I’ve placed on myself without anyone asking me to, but because I’ve seen many men who are close to me struggle with their victimization, and struggle even more when trying to speak out about them. I couldn’t go on without doing something. I couldn’t continue living in a world where women were taken seriously about the violations towards their minds, bodies and emotions, but men were being laughed at, dismissed and shamed because they were violated in the same ways. That to me has never been acceptable.
For now, I’ll leave you with this update and continue to work on my other projects and developing stories for the future – I just want you to remember: Don’t ever falter in the pursuit of your dreams. Don’t ever give up. If you do, you’ll never experience the incredible feeling of happiness and satisfaction that comes with making your dreams come true.