The stories as they should be told

The beauty of being a filmmaker is that I’m able to work on so many projects in different genres – but I keep on being asked “why are documentaries important to me?”

As a journalist and overall filmmaker I think that telling the stories, as truthful as possible, whenever I can is a responsibility that I have to my audience. Yes, I would love to, in a near future, direct scripted material – but for now I feel there are so many stories, involving the violation of both human and environmental rights that I need to further develop these stories and start a conversation that no one is having.dr-vibe-interview-transcript

I want to talk about domestic violence for a second (or two, or three)…

There has been a lot of talk about the struggles men face while coming out as victims of domestic violence – while the issue has been surging for the past few years there’s still a long way to go when it comes to providing help for men who say they’ve been abused by their partners – an injustice if you ask me.

According to a recent Business Insider article “a report released Tuesday by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) shows that Jacob, whose story is detailed in the report, was hardly alone in his struggle to find help. Surveying 1,976 instances of LGBTQ intimate partner abuse from 2015, NCAVP found that nearly half of survivors (44 percent) had been turned away from shelters.”

Why? Because most shelters have a “no men” policy in order to keep the women they’re helping safe – and they should be kept safe, but the administrations to these shelters and clinics should also recognize that men can and often are victims of domestic violence, rape and child sexual abuse – and rarely, if at all get any help.

While, and I reiterate here, the progress in the help women have gained throughout the years has been great and should be continued in order to help those who have been victimized by their partners – I feel there is a large demographic that is being ignored here, and until we address the other victims of domestic violence, we are only doing half of the work that is required to put an end to partner abuse and/or domestic violence.

Which is why the film Forced into Silence came about and now Silent no More is a docu-series will further explore the issues presented in the film. My hope is that people will see the importance of a gender-inclusive conversation of victims of domestic violence and will begin to realize that men and those in the LGBTQ community that face the gender-restrictions that force them to continue to go through these human rights violations, when they clearly need help to get out of their abusive situation.

As of today I began making the first edits to the interviews I’ve done for the pilot of the series, once done with that, I’ll be submitting it to festivals and pitching for funding for more episodes. All with hopes that producers  and/or financiers see the need to have this conversation, if I’m not successful with that, the docu-series will be available to be seen in different online platforms such as Vimeo and/or YouTube for everyone to see, learn and interact with. The point is to keep the conversation going and to help bring awareness that domestic violence is not a gender-exclusive problem, but everyone’s problem.

 

Self doubt is not accepted

While I’ve posted my struggles with body dysmorphia I haven’t really gone in depth on how this has affected my confidence to make my films.

Coming from a small coastal town, having most people tell me that I’m “way too ambitious for my own good” has quietly seeped its way into my subconscious and made me doubt my ability to make things happen efficiently.

Most evident was when I was in film school. One of my professors gave us an in class assignment of how our production company would work out budgeting and breaking even – we were given about 20 minutes to work out the first few details to give us an idea of how things would work once we graduated. My response was simple: to produce one of my documentaries the cost for a small 3 person team for travel, editing and other production expenses along with limited distribution (as in “available only in these theatres”) would be an estimated $150,000 – this would also cover merchandise for the film that would be available for purchase online and at the theatres at a special table next to the ticket booth, I also mentioned that to attract more theater goers to make sure I either break even and make more than the invested I’d be available to do a Q&A the premiere night and the closing night.

The professor’s reaction was that of his jaw dropping and telling me “wow, you’re certainly ambitious and talking a big game, but you won’t be able to do that right out the gate – best you start small” While he was right, and I have already done the small time promotion steps of distribution (see on the side bar Forever Boogies). Not once, did he mention we should think small when talking about our potential productions hitting theaters. What was so wrong with my idea then? It was too big of a thought for a person who was coming out of nowhere.

That professors reaction, along with the fact that I’ve had it drilled into my brain that I’ll never be the person I imagine myself being – has served as a giant disservice for my career. I’ve made proposals after proposals with low production cost and thinking how I could get all things done with just under $40K for a documentary. Thinking “if I could make it happen with just $1,000 [the true cost of making Forever Boogies] I can make a larger film happen” but what will that leave me with really? I won’t have an adequate team, the film quality will probably be shit, and then that means I won’t have the reach I’d love for it to have.

So, time has come – and after fail Crowd-Funding campaigns [in great part due to doubting my abilities as a filmmaker, and over all abilities to create compelling content] to tighten up my boot straps and make things happen for real. I’ve gathered up a small team of people, and have adjusted the budgets for my next three documentaries. All of which will be pitched at the same time to several documentary production agencies. Why all at once? Because they are all compelling stories, that need to be brought into fruition for the audience to see. Self doubt is no longer accepted at this production table.

Wish me luck.