Oct 18, 2006 ellen leahy Uncategorized
Film bears witness to subtlety of domestic violence; Silent Witness began the evening
Silhouettes of women lined the entrance corridor of Eastwood’s Palace Theater Thursday night Oct. 5. Each told a simple story. Silent witnesses. Each woman murdered by a significant other. It would be hard to classify this other as lover, but that is often the case. A life snuffed out. Families left behind shocked and shattered. Skaneateles’ late Jill Cahill’s silhouette was the last in this line displayed that evening.
The Palace hosted the film, ” Don’t Tell Me You Love Me,” as October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. The evening included Vera House’s Silent Witness and Art of Caring Projects, the film and a panel discussion with proceeds going to Vera House.
According to Vera House Police responded to 900 domestic violence calls in the city of Syracuse in 2005. An additional, 400 calls were made in the surrounding suburbs.
“Don’t Tell Me You Love Me”
This film screening was attended by its creator Thato Rantao Mwosa, who garnered the coveted “Best Emerging Film Maker” award at the 2005 Roxbury Film Festival in Boston, Massachusetts. In addition Marcellus native Bret Moses, the director of photography and the editor, was in attendance.
Both joined the panel for discussion after the screening, which also included Arethea Brown a Vera House advocate, poet and survivor Evie Ayers-Marsh, immigration law specialist Ramon Rivera, Esq. of Mackenzie, Hughes LLP and moderator Dr. James Duah-Agyeman, Director of Syracuse University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs.
Duah-Agyeman opened with his remembrances of his father abusing his mother for many years and what that was like to witness as a child. The film opened with a couple walking down a hospital hall. Blood trickles from a wound on her forehead. The movie is centered around a poem, “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me.” It portrays a familiar, yet confusing story with actions, words and emotions not lining up. It is subtle, based on a true story.
Ayers-Marsh said the dynamic of silence often starts with abused children, they get hardwired into silence; In silence there is safety. She said how important breaking the silence is, it breaks open the cage.
“The movie was so real it transported me,” Ayers-Marsh said, “The situation was different, but the sense of always walking on eggshells, the entrapment was the same.”
Brown said that an important ingredient is to educate the perpetrators. There is programming in place through the system, but it is still underdeveloped.
About the filmmaker
Thato Rantao Mwosa is a filmmaker concentrating on African themes, as well as important life issues. She graduated from Emerson College in Boston. Rantao Mwosa has a background working in non-profit organizations where she started her career as a peace activist. Rantao Mwosa, who is originally from Botswana, currently lives in Boston. She discovered Bret Moses in Boston in 2004. Moses has worked in the film industry since 2001, during which time he has worked on 11 films — seven on which he served as Director of Photography, responsible for the filming and lighting crews, and editor for eight. He recently moved his production house from Exeter, N.H., back to his hometown of Marcellus.
Moses said he had seen the film so many times in production, but seeing it with his wife at the Palace, it was evident that the love he shares with his wife is a blueprint of what their baby daughter sees and the path she will take in life.
For more information about the film contact Elisa Morales, who is a Vera House Advocate who organized this event, 425-0818, x220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Silent Witness project is nationwide
Silent Witness is an initiative to stop domestic violence developed by the Junior League of Syracuse. It is a traveling exhibit, part of a larger exhibit nationwide with the goal of ending domestic violence homicides by the year 2010. Skaneateles’ Welch Allyn is one of the sponsors for the Syracuse area Silent Witness, along with Verizon.
About Vera House
Vera House, Inc., is a not-for-profit agency serving victims of domestic and sexual violence. Vera House program and services include: 24-hour crisis and support lines, emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence and their families, sexual assault and domestic violence advocacy and short-term counseling services, youth programs, community education and professional development presentations, the alternatives education and accountability program for men who have been abusive to their female partners, and the work of the Syracuse Area Domestic & Sexual Violence Coalition.
Visit the agency’s website for more detailed information.