We all condemn rape. And yet, it’s still an intractable problem in our society. When the perpetrator is someone unknown to the victim, it’s easy for us to locate and condemn ‘the evil’. But what happens when the perpetrator is someone you know, a friend, a family member? Or when you yourself commit an act of sexual violence?
Tom (20) is a guy most of us know one of. He’s a young, carefree student that parties regularly with his fixed group of friends.
Tom has been in a relationship with student Eloisa (22) for three months, until one night, he crosses her boundaries.
After a short period of denial and shame Eloisa realises: I was raped. But for Tom things are different. He doesn’t see himself as the kind of person that is capable of doing such a thing and has a different interpretation of the situation.
On the surface, not much seems to change in Tom’s life. His friends and family still see him as the same ‘nice guy’ that ‘would never’ do something like that. Within Tom however a big struggle is taking place. Eloisa keeps haunting him like an evil spirit.
She seeks contact with him, in the hope a confession will give her some peace. Will Tom be able to face his actions when confronted to Eloisa’s suffering face to face? Or is the image that he and his surroundings have of him stronger?
40% of the Dutch women come into contact with sexual violence. In more that 80% of the cases the perpetrator is someone known to the victim. Not the scary man in the bushes, but friends, family, partners and colleagues.
Yet most stories we hear about sexual violence are about that unknown perpetrator. And without wanting to reduce the attention to those cases in any sense, we find it important to give attention to the cases in which the perpetrators are known to the victims.
VISION OF THE DIRECTORS
We want to make a film that examines why sexual violence occurs so often within the social circle and which factors play a part in that. For this reason we’ve chosen to first follow the perspective of the perpetrator in our film. We want to explore to what degree we can bring our viewers along in his perspective, to what degree we as a viewer can sympathise with a perpetrator, to what degree we can rationalise sexual violence ourselves and have a blind spot for the consequences of our actions.
With our film we hope to stimulate people to think about good and evil and perpetrators of sexual violence in a new way and add something meaningful to the public debate about this very urgent subject.
The focus of the film is on the story and the acting. The stylistic elements should always support and don’t distract from that.
The film starts in the middle of the social life of Tom, a world of youthfulness, partying and friends. We support this with an easy and “close to the skin” camera- and editing style.
During the course of the film the inner conflict of Tom grows and he feels more isolated from that youthful world. This dramatic development we support with a more slow and distant camera and editing style.
We, Joël and Gemma, met each other on the first day of our study Audiovisual Media at the HKU. There was an immediate connection and since then, we work together as directors almost all of the time.
There are many advantages to directing together. First of all the exchange of different ideas, talents and ways of working. This results in making better films together than we would have made separately. In addition to that Gemma suffers from a chronical disease (ME) which makes it harder for her to make films. When we work together, we can support each other when necessary and can still realise our visions.
Co-directing has a lot of advantages for this film in particular, because it’s about a subject in which ideas about gender and sexuality play a big role.
We’ve decided to make a film about this difficult subject, because we felt the urgency directly, in our own lived and that from our friends. When we decided this, we did say to each other: If we’re going to make this film, we’ll have to do this with the utmost sensibility and vigorousness. We want to do the subject and the victims of sexual violence justice and don’t want to damage or exploit them.
That’s why we’ve started the process with a lot of research. We’ve read a lot and have talked to all sorts of involved parties. We also searched within ourselves to examine what part our gender and, whether conscious or unconscious, learned behaviour plays. Our research has resulted in this story.
We’re very happy with the fantastic people that believe in this project and help us on voluntary basis. Of course we try to keep the production costs as low as possible, but we still need financial support to realise this film. This money we’ll use, among other things, to rent equipment, for transportation, food for the crew and locations.
We’d like to thank you very much for your contribution. It means a lot to us and we’ll do our utmost best to make a beautiful film that will hopefully mean a lot to others as well.
For our rewards we’ve set up an unique collaboration with talented artist. Various fine artists, illustrators and photographers have donated a work that’s related to sexual violence (trauma, the relationship with your body, sexuality, the sexualised society and more). These images we’ve printed on postcards. With certain donations you’ll receive a set of these unique cards.
The artists that have contributed are:
Katja Fred, Myrabel Romero, Andrea van Gelder, Mas Hab, Masha Pikulina, Chantal Linssen, Tessa Helder, Gemma Barendse and Cindy Salman.
To stay up to date about the progress of our project, please follow us on facebook!