Continuing the Discussion on Awareness Raising: Positive Action and Book/Film Recommendations

After my post on awareness raising and media, an interesting dialogue occurred. The majority of it was quite positive. Some of it was not. For those who strongly disagreed with calling out the film Nefarious in my previous post, I wanted to say that my intention was to point out the HOW & WHY of creating media (as Kevin from the Set Free Movement pointed out here). I think it is okay to say that something can do a lot of good, but the way it was created isn’t okay or respectful. The previous post was not meant to be an attack on the character of any one individual or even the organization, and especially not the survivors who shared their stories. I am sorry if it was read that way, but after talking it over with many who did not read it that way, I feel that this conversation is still very relevant. I want to draw attention to how the film was created; the style, and the way in which women were exposed, these are things I am not okay with.

But one film is not the point.

The trend on how we communicate issues of sexual exploitation is what upsets me, and this I think deserves further discussion and attention.

In positive news, the second film I talked about, which I did not name because I also did not want people to see it, was immediately taken down off of the Internet, with a promise to blur the faces of women in the windows. The mistake was acknowledged and that means that in the future it won’t be repeated (at least by this group)! Something I consider a win ☺.

Another positive is that this opened up a dialogue with a few women who work in window prostitution about how it feels to be filmed or photographed without their consent. Their feedback on this post was mostly positive, although the conversation was still centred on the reality that many individuals just don’t listen when they are asked not to film or photograph. I hope drawing attention to this will work towards bringing about a change in attitudes of those visiting and filming in the area.

Again, if you don’t have consent, don’t film… no matter how much good you hope your documentary will do.

To keep the dialogue focused on positive action, I asked two groups involved in documentary filmmaking to join in a conversation about their how and why. I specifically asked these two groups because the media they have created was done without being overly dramatic or exploitative. I didn’t ask them because they do everything right, or because they don’t make mistakes, or even because I agree with everything they say! Hopefully though this can give some food for thought for those who would like to make documentary films on sensitive topics and will help propel the conversation towards a more honouring form of awareness raising.

This dialogue is posted here: Making Better Documentaries By Asking The Right Questions

There were quite a few people who asked what documentaries I WOULD recommend. That is a hard question. I hardly ever watch films about human trafficking anymore because they tend towards the dramatic. So I have asked some others (especially those who work in the field) to offer input on what they refer people to. That post will be coming soon…

What films, documentaries or books do you recommend as effective tools to raise awareness and why?

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  1. […] have to say is incredibly important. For background on the conversation see the previous two posts: Positive Action, Sexy […]



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