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
www.traceyquezadaproductions.com

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

The Need for Boundaries – “Do No Harm” Starts with Me

Licia Berry

Licia Berry

My experience with folks that don’t observe boundaries is that we need to let them know they have crossed them; otherwise they don’t get the opportunity to learn how they are being harmful.

I used to think that as a deeply spiritual person I needed to turn the other cheek…that I was reflecting the divinity in myself by allowing them to be hurtful, telling myself they were having a bad day, “beaming unconditional love at them”.  As I have grown spiritually, I am learning that allowing others to be hurtful violates the number one divine law that I learned, which is “Do No Harm”, and that allowing others to harm ME means I am violating that law.

I have also observed that giving someone feedback about how they have crossed a boundary gives them the opportunity to correct their behavior, and if they are truly wanting to heal themselves, and opportunity to go inward to see why they are driven to cross boundaries in the ways they do.  But it doesn’t happen unless I let them know they were hurtful to me.

I let some people in my life hurt me for a very long time because I was “too spiritual” to say anything about their trespasses.  I wasn’t creating any urgency for them to heal. I was actually contributing to their woundedness by not setting any limits.  In co-dependency terms, this is called “enabling”.  As I began to cherish my well being, and set limits when they crossed healthy boundaries, my life began to improve.

Join me for a discussion on Feminine/Masculine Leadership and “The Need for Boundaries” on Illumined Hearts Radio this Saturday at 1:00 Eastern.  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/liciaberry

 

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!

Warmly,

Tracey Quezada
Producer, Writer, Director
http://www.youandmeandthefruittrees.com/trailer/