victim blaming

On the road again - destination Mansfeild

Daughter returned to Regional Victoria as we visited Mansfield Armchair Cinema on the 20th of November 2016.

It was a hot and muggy day when Ivan and I ventured down to Benalla country from Melbourne, our first destination being Lima East. On our way we stopped in at Bonny Doon for an upmarket pub lunch, which is one of the more swish meals we have tasted in the area. We were quite impressed. We then made our way off through the heat to Mansfield township for a brief sight see and a flyer drop. Much to our surprise, our new friends at the Mansfield Arm Chair Cinema (The MAC) had most of the major bases covered with the Daughter event prep. 

On our way 

On our way 

When evening came and we had missed the timing of the local winery we instead made our way into Lima East early, where our cabin and new but somewhat old friends awaited our arrival. Like last month when Daughter and Made In Melbourne Film Festival held a joint event in Swanpool, we stayed on at Pam and Ian's cosy farm, the cabin situated behind their home. As expected from previous visits we were treated well and welcomed with a meal and an interesting conversation on film and travel upon arrival. 

After dinner and more conversation it was quite late when Ivan and I got back to the cabin and we spent our night writing character breakdowns for NPG's next feature film, Friends, Foes and Fireworks. We wrote and threw ideas around while all comfy in the cabins bed, surrounded by the sounds of nature. When the next day rolled around and it was Sunday, the screening day, we again spent the morning writing on the verandah after being awoken by the sun rising over the paddocks. We enjoyed a few slices bread we had provided for us in the cabin by our hosts and anticipated meeting James and Katrina from the MAC over a lunch, which we had been kindly invited to. 

Me and Ivan with James and Katrina 

The heat continued that Sunday and did not let up. On arrival at The MAC we took our usual 'social media' snaps with the signage (don't laugh, they are valuable) and made our way into the air conditioned cinema, which was previously a tennis court. James and Katherine were so welcoming and we could not have asked for more generous new cinema friends. An equal tie with Pam and Ian! It must just be a quality bestowed on country folk, always so content and humble. 

Me with the MAC sign before heading in.

Together we walked across the road and to a local park where we found some shade and a table under a huge tree where we put down the esky and the platter of home made sandwiches our friends had prepared.  They had even packed wine in a cooler. What a perfect way to enjoy the area - with locals in a beautiful setting. It was so generous of our hosts to give Ivan and I, two strangers so much in exchange for a screening of films. 

Once back in the cinema the people started gathering and I was wondering just how many would turn up. The word in town is that the cinema is not a common place to hide from the heat, making it likely that we would screen our films to a small audience. However the foyer was quickly ablaze with people queuing at the desk to purchase last minute tickets and once inside the upper level was almost full. Ivan and I were shown to our 'reserved' seating section which saw seated under the mezzanine level, in big leather reclining chairs - yes, we were so comfy in the Gold Class section. It was great seeing some of the MIMFF 2016 selected films on the big screen for the first time and Daughter was thrown in the mix as part of this joint Regional Tour. 

Audience in the mezzanine level watching the films 

Audience in the mezzanine level watching the films 

Daughter was well received, the audience had a lot of intelligent questions up their sleeves for me to answer afterwards. The main focus of this Q&A ended up being very community and crime focused and questions about the justice system and victim blaming were asked. Some tough ones to answer but I think I answered them well as a discussion formed on the perceptions of women in the media and how the system supports or does not support women. 

After the Q&A Ivan and I had our picture taken inside the cinema room with a woman from the local press, who was going to write a story about the joint MIMFF/Daughter event. On heading back out into the foyer we chatted some more with the audience. One woman I will never forget had a dog with her which happened to belong to a man who'd committed a violent crime against a woman many years ago. She brought a bunch of flyers which told the story of the dog and the man who once owned her, who happened to be a murderer. 

At every screening for Daughter and also MIMFF, when on tour we meet all sorts of people , all with different takes on violence and of different experiences and views on life and experiences they have had or witnessed. I believe that art affects us all in certain ways, we see what we want to in art and our upbringing has us conditioned to think and act and even re-act in a certain way. Our actions and emotions after viewing art are automatic responses, justified in our own ways due to this conditioning we can't help be allow to accept as part of us and who we are as individuals.

Katherine Langford as Scarlett

It is true when I say that Ivan and I were happy with the joint screening. It gave us a chance to screen Daughter in Mansfeild to a new audience as well as MIMFF, allowing us to also see the reaction of the audience to the festival's films before we screening them to a wider audience back home. I would say this screening of Daughter and MIMFF at the MAC was a success. 

After saying our goodbyes to our new friends, we took the directions to the nearest swimming spot they had written on the back of one of our flyers and hit the road toward Gloughs Bay. Once there I was happy to kick my heels off and dip my feet in the lake while eating a much deserved ice-cream. 

Ivan and I were sad to leave peaceful Mansfeild, but our next stop on the Daughter Awareness Tour was Port Lonsdale's Queensciff Uniting Church that coming Tuesday. We had lots to think about while eating dinner in Bonny Doon that night and lots to contemplate on the two and a half hour drive home. As well as much to be grateful for, which we both believe is very important when being a filmmaker.

This tour as been more than we expected. 



Daughter Takes the First Public Step Towards Education

It is a totally amazing feeling as a film maker to see your project and short film up on a screen in front of the Holmesglen Waverley Tafe students being used as an educational tool, and part of their assessments for the Justice course.

I can't even begin to tell you how content my heart and soul are right now. To have Daughter achieve so much already. To have this tough little film from St Kilda make changes to peoples thoughts and to educate these young minds on the affects of gendered violence and victim blaming in our communities is a very rare and special opportunity.  I feel so grateful. 

Today at Holmesglen I was so nervous before I was even in the auditorium, I had to tell myself that what I am doing is very important and that this is the start of something very big. I had been anticipating this screening for the last few months and like other screenings it went too quickly. 

Tamie Cousins talking about attitudes, norms, behaviours and practices that support violence

Tamie Cousins talking about attitudes, norms, behaviours and practices that support violence

The students filled the auditorium around 10am and their teacher Tamie Cousins began by introducing Ivan and myself and talking a bit about Daughter and how the film fits into what the Diploma and Advanced Diploma students are currently learning in their Justice Course. 

Stats on violence towards women and men from the Our Watch website were shown and the numbers are alarming. An explanation on what gendered violence is, how many women are currently reported as affected by gendered violence on the streets and most importantly the attitudes, norms, behaviours and practices that support violence was mentioned, all linking back to Daughter.

I then had my chance to speak about why I wrote Daughter and what my inspirations  and goals were for the film before Daughter was shown to the class of around 90 students and teachers. 

Sarah Jayne talking about Daughter, why she wrote the script and the characters. 

The Q and A that followed had the students asking the most wonderful and thought provoking questions such as "Did you go into the Gatehouse with any of your own prejudices?" and "Why was the film shown from the perspective of just the three women, why not the perpetrators view". Some of these questions really got me thinking about how I can expand the film into a feature, a thought I have had many times the last couple of months and also how I can show a different view on gendered violence. 

I was blessed to have also received fantastic feedback on Daughter through the survey I handed out to the students as well as the teachers. They answered questions about how they believed Daughter was affective to their learning and if they felt Daughter should be used as a teacher's aid and part of the curriculum. A few of them said the film is good for secondary schools, they wanted to see more of the film and that they found sympathy with the character of Jemma. 

There are 94 surveys to continue reading though and I will get to that perhaps tomorrow. NPG now have to work on the Daughter tour, but this test run really was worth doing. From here we also have a connection through Tamie, which will open more doors in education for Daughter and help me to work on a new School Press Kit to spread the word nationally. 

More photos can be found under Gallery

Daughter Awareness Tour locks in first date

After a short correspondence via email with Tamara, one of the Holmesglen Justice Co-Ordinators over the month of April, today NPG finally received word that on the 21st of July Daughter will be screened privately for students of the course, as well as be part of a special linked assessment. 

For NPG, who's main intention when producing Daughter was to use the film as a tool to raise awareness on gendered violence and victim blaming though schools, this is a big small step in the right direction for Daughter and the Awareness Tour. 

In one of her first emails Tamara expressed her joy that NPG contacted her and the relevance Daughter has with the Justice class when she said, "I teach a subject called Family violence at Diploma level. In this subject we talk a lot about victim blaming and gendered violence. It's a topic I am particularly interested in and think changing community attitudes is extremely important in addressing these issues.  Our students will benefit from this opportunity and we welcome it." 

Sarah Jayne will head down to the school, based in the Eastern Suburbs and present Daughter and after the screening she will talk about why she wrote the screenplay, why she thinks Daughter is important in this day and age and also answer any questions from the students.

When Tamara informed NPG that "there are approximately 85 diploma students and 40 Advanced Diploma students" the team knew that this was to be another big event for this tough little film from St Kilda. 

For now I leave you with only good news but I will return to this bog and report on the day and share some pictures too. 


I would also like to mention Thomas Liddy, Daughter's Executive Producer and say thank you for your help with this one ...

A Very Special St Kilda Event

It has been more than a couple of weeks now since the premiere screening of my film, Daughter at St Kilda Town Hall on March 10th and I still can't believe how wonderful and special the event was. I feel totally blessed to have had such a well received film and a huge turnout, that was three times bigger than I expected. We estimate 180 people were in attendance. The continued support for Daughter and what the project stands for continues to make me smile. 

This time last year I was still researching the topics and reading up on as many news stories on Tracy, Jill , sex work in St Kilda and the topic of Gendered Violence I could. My meeting with Sally from St Kilda Gatehouse in January was a success and the next step was to finish up the script. It was real now, we were to shoot during the first week of September. To get to this stage, the premiere screening and still be supported by the St Kilda community, the general public and local businesses is amazing beyond words. But now during National Women's week 2016- how much has changed for Daughter. 

On the night Deputy Mayor of Port Phillip Serge Thomann, who has supported the project from his first discussion with me and through Pozible, opened the proceedings and gave a speech which summed up the context of the film and it's connection of Port Phillip -

"Port Philip has got a very strong commitment for social justice and through the the Cultural Development Grant, we are proud to help and support this project. This is a short film that will hopefully make a difference and open peoples minds and start conversations that are sometimes hard to have." 

Serge Thomann opening the event with a heart warming speech


So many other influential speakers, such as Andie Patchett from the St Kilda Gatehouse, Elliott Costello from Polished Man and Heavy METAL representatives Tanya Giles and David Nugent graced the stage before the film and I enjoyed talking to everyone after the screening. 

So many happy faces were seen in the crowd and this showed through in the photos taken by Raphael Chan, our BTS photographer and sponsor. But to truly understand just how warm the energy was and how proud we stood together in St Kilda Town Hall, during National Women's Week on March 10th, in solidarity against victim blaming and gendered violence in society at the screening you had to be there. It can't be described through words.  

Stay tuned for further screenings, announced here through the blogs and on the EVENTS page.