Two movies starring Maine domestic violence survivors are premiering Saturday, July 16 at the 25th Maine International Film Festival in Waterville, sharing the stage with the award-winning documentary “And So I Stayed,” about women serving long prison sentences for killing their abusers.
The Finding Our Voices short documentaries feature Courtney and Christine of Midcoast Maine recounting how they were pulled into the nightmare of domestic violence, and how they escaped.
The Saturday, 3:15 p.m. screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Courtney, a hairdresser; Christine, owner of a framing store; the founder/president of Finding Our Voices Patrisha McLean; and the directors of “And So I Stayed,” Natalie Pattillo and Daniel A. Nelson. The discussion will include the sorry state of services/rights for domestic violence victims in Maine and the injustice here in Maine when it comes to prosecuting and sentencing domestic violence perpetrators.
The Finding Our Voices films were produced by the acclaimed director/producer of photography Matt Siegel, who reached out to the grassroots nonprofit with the offer to break the silence of domestic abuse through film after seeing the group’s huge posters featuring the faces and voices of 43 Maine survivors including Christine, Courtney and governor Janet T. Mills. Filmmakers who also lent their talents pro bono to the two films are Jim Boutin, Josh Gerritsen, and Neil Shelley.
Courtney’s film focuses on how a Prince Charming swept her off her feet when she was 22, and how two years of emotional terrorizing stripped her of her personality. Christine's film is about becoming aware that her daughter suffered from abuse in her home in a way that mirrored Christine’s own childhood, and how the two are working to break the intergenerational cycle.
The executive director of the Maine International Film Festival Mike Perreault said the festival “is honored to partner with Finding Our Voices, which does important and impactful work to raise awareness and provide support for survivors of domestic abuse. The films to be shown highlight the ways in which abuse affects the entire family — and for generations. We’re proud to take part in bringing this conversation to the forefront.”
The screening and discussion opening eyes, minds, and hearts to the domestic violence all around us are sponsored by the Oak Institute for Human Rights at Colby College.
Tickets to the Saturday, July 16 afternoon program are $12 and can be bought at https://miff.org/program. MIFF screenings at Railroad Square Cinema, 17 Railroad Square.
Finding Our Voices marshals survivor voices and community creativity to break the silence, stigma and cycle of domestic abuse, with twin pillars of bold outreach and tangible peer support including direct funding to women victims to get and stay safe and get and keep their children safe as well. For more information on Finding Our Voices visit https://findingourvoices.net.