Our Widget:: Why Don't They Just Leave?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thavi's Oscar for "The Betrayal"

Thavisouk Phrasavath, editor and collaborator, has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary for his film, "The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)." The film is Thavi's life story -- his escape from Laos at 12 and his journey, and his family's journey, since that time.

The Oscar nomination comes on top of Thavi's previously announced nomination for an Independent Spirit Award.

"The Betrayal" competes with four other films for the Oscar on Feb. 22.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The meaning of Biden

Having Joe Biden as Vice President is bound to be a huge gain for the DV cause. Certainly the economy overshadows all other domestic issues. At the same time, as noted previously, the
re/de-pression had already led to a jump in domestic violence.

An article from the New Republic this past summer very succinctly spelled out Joe Biden's huge accomplishments in fighting DV (with of course VAWA being the chief one).

Production Update

A busy week working on the film. Yesterday we had a shoot in Duluth. Camera man Dominic Howes drove up from Minneapolis to shoot a men's group meeting at the Duluth Absue Intervention Project. Dominic also interview two members of the group. Scott Miller of the DAIP co-facilitated the group and coordinated the shoot.

In the meantime, Thavisouk Phravath (Thavi) is working on our trailer and has also started cutting interview excerpts which we plan to post on our web site. Thavi, by the way, is a big deal. His film, "Nerakhoon--The Betrayal" has been nominated for a Spirit Award and is also on the short list for an Academy Award. I think he is going to win both.

Zoe and Mik are working on the film web site. We hope to launch in about two weeks.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Alarms Going Off: Economy Means Domestic Violence Spike

Early warning signs are being triggered across the country. Domestic violence is suddenly surging. And the collapse of the American economy is being blamed for it.

It makes intuitive sense that when people are losing jobs, seeing their savings wiped out or facing foreclosure, the added stress would lead to trouble, including domestic violence. News reports from around the country are proliferating, confirming this suspicion.

Here are a few of them:

Hard Times Mean More Abuse. Baltimore Sun. 12/14/08

Domestic Violence Calls Way Up, Crisis Center Says. WRTV. Indianapolis. 12/11/2008

Maine Domestic Violence Deaths Double. Seacoastonline.com 12/2/08

Hard Times Pack Tampa Bay Domestic Violence Shelters
. St. Petersburg Times. 12/7/2008

Number of Cases Overwhelms Family Violence Center. KYTV. Springfield, MO. 11/21/2008

Financial Strain Fuels Domestic Violence. The Gazette, Colorado Springs. 10/31/2008

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Youth Violence

The New York Times story on teen domestic violence highlights an issue of great concern. Although the US has made tremendous progress in reducing domestic violence, the high incidence of violence against teenage women raises the troubling prospect that the progress we've made could be reversed.

The story also reminds me of our plans to include the issue ofteenage domestic violence in "Power and Control." We've researched different youth programs around NYC and have found some interesting ones -- both Safe Horizon and the Center Against Domestic Violence run programs in the NYC schools. Jacqueline Campbell is involved in a strong program in Baltimore schools.

So far, we haven't had a chance to film any of these programs. We're hoping at some point to follow a high school "peer leader" to gain some insight into the attitude of young people toward domestic violence. I'm eager to explore the continuing impact of hip hop culture on high school boys and to also examine the role of texting, instant messaging and other technology.