Are you man enough to walk a mile in her shoes? Ashley and Tamara, spirited women from Heartly House, set man-sized pairs of shocking pink and lime green patent leather stilettos on a table in the lobby of the Weinberg Center where TRUST was to screen. They were promoting an upcoming event in which the mayor, the softball team and other “high profile” men in the community totter a mile in these most outrageous-looking high heels. The walk is political and performance art with public, personal and existential messages that raise awareness about domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. Everyone coming to see TRUST stopped to look at those shoes and talk with Ashley and Tamara.
When the lights came up after the screening, Ashley, Tamara, Weinberg Center Executive Director John Healy and I discussed the film with the audience. Some distributors have criticized TRUST for being about too many things – but that’s the nature of the Albany Park Theater Project’s work, so the film couldn’t help but have that quality. The breadth and depth of the questions the audience asks during these post-screening discussions is strength, I think.
During the discussion, one woman in the audience said she felt uncomfortable with the idea of thirteen-to-fifteen year olds dealing with the ugly, evil side of sexuality. She wasn’t even sure how she felt about people that young being exposed to the idea of sex. Tamara took the microphone and described in the most upbeat tone, a program she does for kindergartners, teaching them the names of different parts of their bodies and move from there to the concept of good touching and bad touching. What a way to answer that question!
At almost every screening in the year since we premiered TRUST, I’ve invited someone from the local rape crisis center to join me for the discussion with the audience. I have come to love and respect the people working to raise awareness, treat, and prevent sexual violence – the very act of talking about such things is a revolution and they do it with verve and a smile.
Post by Nancy Kelly, On Screen/In Person Touring Filmmaker