Connect with your audience

Last month, I participated in an online, social engagement chat around the documentary film A Lot Like You. The chat, hosted by AfroPop/Black Public Media and the Center for Asian American Media, was held on ITVS’ OVEE platform. OVEE is a new social screening platform for watching your favorite PBS and local public television programs. People from everywhere, locally, nationally, internationally, can join OVEE chats to watch films collectively, share responses, or even pose questions via live chat to the filmmakers or producers in attendance. A Lot Like You (ALLY) shares the story of Eliaichi Kimaro, a mixed-race, first-generation American with a Tanzanian father and Korean mother who is searching for a stronger connection to her African roots.
I was drawn to director Eliaichi Kimaros’ film because of the complexities of the issues raised, and because of the ways her team is engaging audiences around these issues. The interactive component on ALLY’s website allows people from everywhere to join the conversation around the sensitive subjects of interpersonal violence and racial and cultural identities. Users are invited to download this picture, write on it reflections inspired by the film, take a photo of what they wrote, and mail it in to the site admin.In my experience, I’ve found storytelling satisfies the human need for connection. People want to share and be heard, so what better way to activate people about important social issues than to connect to one another through shared experiences, creative expression, and resources.In my work as a filmmaker and story consultant I’m always researching and implementing new ways to engage audiences. The film I’m currently producing, You and Me and the Fruit TreesAqueila at grad pic 2012-11-05 at 9.22.55 AM, follows Angel, Aquiela and Tony who after years of childhood sexual (CSA) abuse, untangle the intergenerational forces that tainted their lives. Pictured to the left is Aqueila (in the film).

I learned that in order to get the conversation going and build collective action, one must start with mutually beneficial relationships. So, early on in the making of the film, I started partnering with many non-profit organizations.

I always suggest that filmmakers get to know their institutional partners. Once you have a solid idea of who your audience is and how you would like to use your media project to engage communities, you can begin to list who would benefit from your multimedia project, both at the level of audience and at the level of organizational partner. Your partners already know the audiences you’re trying to reach and can offer helpful advice on your audience’s needs, how to meet them, and on additional organizations in need of media to inspire dialogue around your issues of interest. I found that everyone, from rehabilitation centers to youth centers and educational institutions, seeks tools to deepen the conversation.

Learning about how our partners aim to serve their demographic helped our team begin to build a website that could meet that need by allowing community members to share their stories of how CSA has impacted them directly or indirectly. The website also includes mapping the impact CSA has on society, to bring awareness around this endemic.
More and more people are interested in using media as an educational tool. Whether it be a series of short video clips, an audio story, or even a curriculum that accompanies a film, educators and advocates value tools that will help their constituencies better understand — and even connect with — an issue. For You and Me and the Fruit Trees, we are building an engagement toolkit to be used with the film for educational institutions, rehabilitation centers and adult and youth prisons.

But always remember, that no matter how many partners you have or how strong your curricular materials, those can easily become moot if you don’t begin with powerful storytelling. Once you have mastered this, you can easily be on your way to raise collective action and empower audiences everywhere.

Tracey Quezada
Producer | Director | Filmmaker

Tracey Quezada Productions is a film and television production company that highlights stories of women, children and other under-represented communities. Through compelling story telling Tracey Quezada Productions increases awareness and inspires dialogue around the issues covered.

300,000 Screen shot 2011-01-10 at 5.24.22 PM

Stories of healing and the movement to end childhood sexual abuse

Film shoots continue, grants received and we welcome new team members this year!

This year kicked off with much opportunity, pushing the film forward. We received the Eva and Lucius Eastman fund grant. This will help us wrap up the film shoots and move on to post production.  We would like to welcome Tracy Johnson to our team, Tracy writes, produces and directs programs for The History Channel, A&E, Court TV, Food Network and many other networks. Welcome Tracy and we welcome, yet, another Tracey.  Tracey Amaya as our new intern, she will be assisting with transcribing and event planning. Can we say Team Tracey!

On February 17th we interviewed Howard Fradkin Ph.D., LICDC of Male Survivor, he has counseled over 1000 male survivors. Dr. Fradkin was also featured as an expert on Oprah’s historic two shows, featuring 200 male survivors gathered together to offer hope and inspiration for the millions of survivors around the world.  It was an honor to interview Dr. Fradkin. He discussed how to thrive after childhood sexual abuse, what bystanders can do to help break the stigma and shared his new book Breaking the Silence: Empowering Male Survivors to Thrive.

Finally, Tracey Quezada the producer will speak at UC Berkeley, Gender Equity Department April 10th at 6:00pm, we will screen the work in progress with a Q and A discussion.  We want to hear your questions and comments, please save the date!


Tracey Quezada
Producer, Writer, Director

Prevent, Aware, Change

It doesn’t end with sensationalized stories of children being sexually abused in locker rooms and churches. Stories like these should push us to educate our children about inappropriate touching and grooming. Child sexual abuse is not just happening in locker rooms and churches but in many living rooms and bedrooms across the nation. Ninety three percent of abusers are people children know and trust. It may be uncomfortable to discuss sexual abuse with your child but they are counting on you to educate them. I was back home for the holidays and my nephew asked me a few questions about the film. He is well informed about the work my team and I are doing to end child sexual abuse. His mother openly discusses the film with him and educates him about inappropriate touching and the sexual abuse of children. My nephew just turned 8 and he asked me , “Tracey why aren’t adults helping, this is so horrible and adults are supposed to help kids, can’t anybody do anything to stop this?” I told him about the many people in the film who are in the movement to end child sexual abuse and it takes parents, aunties, community and teachers to prevent sexual abuse. He was simply shocked that CSA is so prevalent and people are not dropping everything they are doing right now to prevent, educate and end child sexual abuse. Children are resilient and are very capable of having an open discussion about sexual abuse.

There are simple things people can do to bring prevention and awareness in their homes and communities:

• Talk to your child about inappropriate touching and grooming.

• Push for education about CSA at your child’s school.

• Question when an adult wants to be with your child one on one. There should always be at least two adults and two children present.

• Look for signs in your child like insomnia or if you notice their grades falling behind at school. Any extreme change in their personality or mood.

I hope you will join our team in ending child sexual abuse. Please make your donation of $10 today to help us complete the film and bring it to high schools, youth centers, churches and millions of homes across the nation.  Click here to watch the work in progress and make your donation:

Tracey Quezada
Producer, Writer, Director