New York, New York, 2009
As the pilot project for the BeCause series, our team was very much invested in the issue of child sex abuse and were specifically interested in lifting up the work of Children’s Advocacy Centers – the interdisciplinary model for working with physically and sexually abused children. Ethics and legal considerations precluded following the stories of those families and children as they walked into the doors of the center, but the idea was to interweave the story of one young man’s journey to heal and the workers on the frontlines of the issue.
As an outsider to the issue, I was struck by both the courage of Jesse, the young man profiled in the film, to be so forthright about the experiences of his own abuse, but also saddened to take in the damage and chronic emotional pain he continues to endure as a result of it. The interviews were intimate at times, and difficult and I was constantly conscious of the line I was walking as a filmmaker, human being, but mostly as an untrained mental health professional engaging in conversation that might trigger difficult emotions.
Ethics comes into play a lot in documentary filmmaking and although Jesse made a decision at one point in the filming that he might want to confront his father for the first time since incarcerated, and supported an effort for us to arrange for the documenting of that encounter, he seemed on the fence about it. With some time and space, he ultimately decided he was not yet ready to face his father. Chronicling the decision to confront or not to confront felt like such a universal struggle of the yearning – albeit for closure on an emotional would of enormity – but a state which felt utterly familiar to most human beings.
It is my hope that this film will inspire others towards deeper understanding of this emotionally excruciating crime.
Directed by Kim A. Snyder
Produced by Kim A. Snyder and Peggy Rajski
Co-Produced by Roger Williams
Executive Produced by Tom Scott and Jage Toba
Edited by Randi Barros
Camera Greg Poschman