Sundance-nominated documentary Audrie & Daisy .
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courtesy of website:
Audrie & Daisy is an urgent real-life drama that examines the ripple effects on families, friends, schools and communities when two underage young women find that sexual assault crimes against them have been caught on camera. From acclaimed filmmakers Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk (The Island President, The Rape of Europa), Audrie & Daisy — which made its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival — takes a hard look at American’s teenagers who are coming of age in this new world of social media bullying, spun wildly out of control.
courtesy of film’s website:
As directors and parents of teenagers, we are struck by the frequency of sexual assaults in high schools across the country and have been even more shocked by the pictures and videos, posted online – almost as trophies – by teens that have committed these crimes. This has become the new public square of shame for our adolescents. Unfortunately, the story of drunken high school parties and sexual assault is not new. But today, the events of the night are recorded on smartphones and disseminated to an entire community and, sometimes, the nation. Such was the case for Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman, two teenage girls, living thousands of miles apart but experiencing the same shame from their communities. While the subject matter is dark, we are inspired by these stories to make a film that captures these truths but can also help audiences digest the complexities of the world teenagers live in today.
As we began our research, the Steubenville, Ohio High School rape case was underway. At the time, there was wide criticism directed at national news outlets for their lack of focus on the victim and perceived sympathy for the perpetrators. As more cases have come to light since then, this damaging attitude – stemming from what many refer to as pervasive “rape culture” in American society – has remained largely in tact. However, journalists need stories and stories require characters. As is the norm in underage rape cases, in Steubenville, the survivor chose (understandably) to maintain her anonymity as a “Jane Doe.” We decided then that a genuinely emotional, meaningful film about teenage sexual assault required the affirmative on- camera participation of the survivor. Our main subjects, Daisy Coleman and Audrie Pott, involuntarily lost their anonymity when rumors, insults and photos about their assaults circulated around school and on social media. Identified by name and subjected to online character assassination, Daisy decided with great courage to speak out publicly. Audrie’s parents chose to go public with their daughter’s story after the unspeakable tragedy of Audrie’s suicide, as well. Thus, using their deeply personal – and, now public – stories as a starting point, we launched into production of our film.
courtesy of Actual Films:
Bonni Cohen started Actual Films in 1998 with her partner and husband, Jon Shenk. Bonni recently produced The Island President (2011), for which she was nominated for Theatrical Documentary Producer of the Year by the Producers Guild of America. The film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, received the Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, and won the Pare Lorentz Award from the International Documentary Association. She co-directed and produced Inside Guantanamo for National Geographic which went on to be nominated for a best documentary Emmy in 2009. Bonni co-directed and produced The Rape of Europa, a feature-length documentary for primetime PBS which was nominated for two Emmys and short-listed for the Academy Awards. The film is an adaptation of Lynn Nicholas’ National Book Award winning history of the same name.
Bonni also just produced Wonders Are Many, a film by Jon Else about the making of the John Adams’ opera, Doctor Atomic. It had its premiere at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and had its’ national television broadcast on PBS’ Independent Lens series. She also produced and directed a number of films for a PBS series about social entrepreneurs called The New Heroes, broadcasting in June, 2005. In 2004, Bonni co-produced a film about Afghanistan’s constitutional process for PBS’ Wide Angle series. She also produced and directed a one-hour special for national PBS entitled The Nobel: Visions of Our Century, an analysis of 100 years of the Nobel prize told from the perspectives of 11 different Nobel laureates. For the BBC Correspondent series, she directed and produced Eye of the Storm, an intimate, vérité portrait of United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan that follows his diplomatic efforts from Baghdad to Nigeria to New York. Eye of the Storm has been shown around the world in over 125 countries.. In addition to Actual Films, Bonni is the co-founder of the Catapult Film Fund with Lisa Kleiner Chanoff. The fund gives away development grants to documentary films. Before coming to documentary film, Bonni worked as a journalist for Reuters Television and was based in London and Jerusalem. She lives in San Francisco with her husband Jon and their children Abe and Anabel.
Bonni earned a Masters degree in Documentary Film from Stanford University and a BA in International Relations from Tufts University.
Jon Shenk is an Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker, cinematographer, and new member of the Academy Motion Pictures, Arts, and Sciences. His features include The Island President (2012), Lost Boys of Sudan (2004), and The Beginning (1999). His films have won The Independent Spirit Award and Best Documentary at Toronto, and have made the Oscar short-list. His work as a director of photography includes the Academy Award-winning, Smile Pinki.
The Island President tells the dramatic story of Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed’s quest to save his country from climate change. The film won the Best Documentary/People’s Choice Award at The Toronto International Film Festival, The Sundance Sustainability Award, and the IDA Pare Lorenz Award in 2012.
Blame Somebody Else (2007) is the story about the murder of twelve Nepalese men who were trafficked and murdered during the Iraq war. The film, made for PBS, won the an Emmy for Outstanding Feature Story.
Lost Boys of Sudan (2004) follows two young refugees of Sudan’s civil war through their first year in America. The received the Independent Spirit Award, and aired on PBS/POV.
He co-directed and photographed Democracy Afghan Style (2004), a PBS/ITVS/Arte film about the post-war constitutional process in Afghanistan. In 2005, he directed and photographed segments for The New Heroes (PBS). He also directed and photographed The Beginning (1999), a chronicle of George Lucas’s complex creative process during the making of Star Wars: Episode I that was said to be “the best behind-the-scenes documentary ever made.” Shenk has produced and photographed dozens of documentaries for PBS, the BBC, A&E, Bravo, CBS, NBC, and National Geographic.
He earned his Masters in Documentary Filmmaking from Stanford University in 1995 and his B.A. from Yale in 1991.
LinksHere is a curated selection of links shared on our Facebook page for additional insight/information:
9/9/16 – Featurette about Tori Amos’ involvement in writing “Flicker” for Audrie & Daisy:
9/26/16 – “We really were kind of fighting hard artistically and aesthetically against how some of these anonymity ideas sort of come across in film, and we didn’t want like a big, black box over them, and we didn’t want to cast them in a shadow which criminalizes their look more than we wanted to do. And we really wanted to keep them as human as possible and let them be in the film anonymous but with human quality.” Bonni Cohen, co-director of Audrie & Daisy, NPR All Things Considered – link
9/29/16 – “The documentary has the potential to transform the way the viewer might think about rape. It underlines the violence of the act, the lack of empathy or remorse among the perpetrators, who are capable of awful things behind closed doors. It is no longer “just a rape”. It is a horrifying, brutal act of control that has devastating effects on victims and survivors.” Rachael Revesz, The Independent – link
10/07/16 – “The film hit me to the core. I found myself walking a thought through, a thought I hadn’t really given proper attention to, despite my motherhood and constant interaction with the community of sexual-assault survivors. By that I mean the filmmakers helped me confront what is happening to 12-, 13-, 14-year-olds by their peers and their communities. It’s the same old mechanisms of shaming and bullying, but amplified by digital footage, social media and moral attrition.” Tori Amos on Audrie & Daisy, Los Angeles Times – link
10/09/16 – Hammer to Nail spoke w/ filmmakers behind Audrie & Daisy – link
12/18/16 – Cultivate Cinema Circle alum Audrie & Daisy has been nominated by the Women Film Critics Circle for Best Documentary By or About Women! – link
12/21/16 – Both Hooligan Sparrow and CCC alum Audrie & Daisy turned up in Tom Roston’s top docs of 2016 list! – link
4/18/17 – Congrats to CCC alums Audrie and Daisy & Hooligan Sparrow, both of whom were honored at the Peabody Awards! – link