Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cynthia Hill from Private Violence - Madison-Morgan Cultural Center & City of Hapeville

From Cynthia Hill of Private Violence:

As a North Carolinian, I always feel pretty welcome in Georgia. In fact, my Southern Circuit tour screenings there this month allowed me to combine two of my greatest passions: film and food. As the director of “A Chef’s Life” on PBS, I had to make two extra stops for Georgia eats based on recommendations from Chef Vivian Howard (see photos on twitter @docusouth). But this trip was about showing Private Violence and engaging communities in conversation about a very complex societal problem - domestic violence. I was renewed and energized by the screenings in Madison and Hapeville, and both locales were warm and welcoming. For me, the unique part of these particular screening events was the bonus of seeing the domestic violence advocacy community come out and have a chance to share what they do with their community members. I think many people could go their whole life without even knowing that domestic violence advocates are out there fighting every day. I got to know this reality very well while making the film.

What also gets me every time I screen Private Violence is how engaged people are, especially once that light bulb goes off - that moment when they realize that the “Why didn’t she just leave?” mentality is not where to start unpacking this issue. And, when that happens, and people feel safe to ask questions, they want to know what they can do, how they can help, where we can go from here. They want to know how to volunteer in their local community. It’s not just batterers who need to change – it is our culture, our justice system. They want to hear perspective on why abusers aren’t held accountable (answer: because they CAN and DO get away with this). But I believe this can change. And I want others to believe that, and work towards it, as well. As one attendee said, “It was truly amazing to see Deanna transform in this film. It was hard to watch, but it is something we all need to watch. She became a victor.” Thank you, South Arts, for making these conversations possible and thanks to everyone who came out in Georgia.

Cynthia Hill, director, Private Violence