It was such a great honor and experience to be included in Jasper‘s Second Act Film Festival last month. I loved seeing the amazing filmmaking talent that Columbia, SC, has, and it’s so awesome to have been part of an incredible, collaborative team with O.K. Keyes, Trell Brennan, Kate Dzvonik, Aaron Wyrd, Nick Ducko, Rebecca Shrom, and Christine Parham. Our team’s film, “Crosswalk,” won the Audience Award, which was a happy surprise to me and to the team. We shot the film in 18 hours or so, and edited it in about week–after writing it and putting it together in a matter of days. This was my first film, so I didn’t realize (until later) that such a crunched time is actually pretty out of the ordinary! There was so much creativity in all the films, though, and it was fascinating to see how differently people interpreted the prompt and brought their own skills and gifts to the project. Great work, Columbia! Special thanks to Director of Photography and my partner in crime, O.K. Keyes, for their guidance and for taking a risk by working with a first-time writer and director like me. I look forward to future projects together! Also, special shout-out to Nick Ducko, who created an amazing soundtrack and soundscape–it’s almost a character in the film itself. So, hope you’ll check out what we came up with and share with your friends!
Only two more days until the 2nd Act Film Festival! Come check out this innovative new project sponsored by Jasper Magazine. The premise: A select group of filmmakers are given the first few lines and last few lines of a script. Their mission: Imagine and create a 6-minute film using those lines as starting and ending points. In other words, write the second act.
The festival will feature 10 short films (mine among them) that responded to this prompt, created by a juried set of 10 filmmaking teams. So come out and support local filmmakers, and scope out my screenwriting/film directorial debut! (And see the tremendous work done by my talented filmmaking team, including OK Keyes, cinematographer/editor and my partner in crime, as well as the rest of our cast and crew, Trell Brennan, Kate Dzvonik, Aaron Wyrd, Nick Ducko, Rebecca Shrom, and Christine Parham.)
I just got some exciting news! My chapbook, “Fratricide,” has been sent to print, and the publisher is holding a pre-order sale ($1.00 off the regular price). Check it out on the BLOOM Literary Journal website, and order your copy in advance!
“Fratricide” was the winner of the 2012 BLOOM Chapbook Contest for Fiction.
“‘Fratricide’ employs its fractured narration for an evident and deeply emotional reason: in the frantic search for self, the story asks, where do we turn? That the story’s protagonist looks outward at a global symbol of division only deepens the wound of how family defines us—and how valuable metaphor can be in understanding where we end up, divided or together.” —Manuel Muñoz, 2012 fiction judge
Finally, a special shout-out to Christin Verkaik for creating such amazing cover art!
It’s now Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and I’m finally getting around to posting the remaining few of our “Why I Am Rising” video series. After some continued technical difficulties and so on, the last videos have finally been uploaded to YouTube and will be released to the public over the next couple of weeks.
And while I’d initially hoped to get them all out before opening night of The Vagina Monologues, including them as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month is actually kind of serendipitous. In part, it reminds me that rising to end violence is not a one-time thing that coincided with the designated date of Feb. 14, 2013. Rising continues, and it must continue until something like Sexual Assault Awareness Month is no longer needed.
So I hope you enjoy and are inspired by the amazing words and experiences of our video participants.
In this “Rising” video, author Janna McMahan describes how research for her newest novel, Anonymity, revealed to her the startling connections between youth homelessness and abuse/violence. And that’s one of the reasons she’s rising.
Speak out. Break the silence. End the violence.
While we were about halfway through V-Day USC’s One Billion Rising video project, in which we asked various USC and Columbia people to share why they’re rising against violence against women, our filmmaker OK Keyes asked me when I was doing my video. I shook my head.
“No, I’m just coordinating this,” I said. “No video needed.”
Keyes said I should. I asked her when she was going to do one. She said, “No, I’m the filmmaker.”
I shrugged. “I’ll do one if you do one.”
And so the challenge was born.
Why am I rising? Because I can imagine a world without sexual or domestic violence. And I’m ready to make it happen.
Join us in making [a new] story—a story of life, not death, of healing, not hurting, of limitless possibilities, and not endless limitations, of people and communities joining together, not being torn apart. We are standing up. We are raising our voices. We are one billion rising.
As a part of The Vagina Monologues at USC’s One Billion Rising video project, Kristin, a graduate student and a wonderful colleague of mine, explains how her experience working in violence prevention both locally and abroad has shaped her desire to rise up and end violence against women. Listen to her story here, and be inspired.
Let the rising continue.
On February 14, 2013, Eve Ensler sought to bring one billion people together to protest violence against women in all its forms. But our movement is far from over, and violence in our communities continues every day.
As we continue to take a stand against violence, I encourage you to be inspired by the “Why I Am Rising” videos made by those in our community. We asked members of the USC and Columbia communities to tell us why they’re rising to end violence against women. This series of videos records their impassioned and insightful responses.
Be inspired. And know that while they’re all-stars in our eyes, they’re not so unlike you. Every one of us can stand up. Every one of us can make a difference.
We are one billion rising.
The first video of this series features Zac Baker, a fourth-year Visual Communications student at USC. His words remind us that we are all responsible for ending violence against women in our communities.
Check out this guest blog post I wrote for Tell Them!, a local organization that works to protect and improve reproductive health and rights in South Carolina. The post covers the importance of the passage of a renewed and extended VAWA–and where we must go from here.
I’ve had the good fortune of receiving a tremendous amount of support from Jasper Magazine this Vagina Monologues season. It seems that good things happen where social issues and art meet!
Find out more about The Vagina Monologues at USC and my journey from a somewhat uncomfortable actress (my first year in the production) to a “cunt”-yelling co-director in my essay “Reclaiming Vaginas,” found in the newest issue of Jasper Magazine.
THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES 2013 AUDITIONS
When: Fri., Jan. 18 and Sat. Jan. 19, 6:00-8:00 p.m. (just plan to come for an hour), or by appointment
Where: Wardlaw 126 (USC, at the corner of Sumter and College St.)
Who: All students, faculty, staff, and community members are welcome, regardless of age, major, and/or background. Although no experience is necessary and you need not prepare anything, sources say that having a vagina (and/or identifying in some way as a “woman” or “female”) will definitely work in your favor.
Questions or appointments? E-mail co-directors Leia K. Cain and/or Alexis Stratton at vmonologuesusc [at] gmail.com.
About the Production
The award-winning play, The Vagina Monologues, is based on V-Day Founder/playwright Eve Ensler’s interviews with more than 200 women. With humor and grace, the piece celebrates women’s sexuality and strength. Through this play and the liberation of this one word, countless women throughout the world have taken control of their bodies and their lives. For almost two decades, The Vagina Monologues has given voice to experiences and feelings not previously exposed in public.
Rehearsals for USC’s production are scheduled for T/Th from 8-10 p.m., with dress rehearsal on the night of Wed., Feb. 13.
Friday, Feb. 15 @ 8 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 16 @ 8 p.m.
Sun, Feb. 17 @ 8 p.m.
Our beneficiary this year will be Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands (www.stsm.org/)