Inclusion StatementWe explore the Title IX process, the role the university plays in protecting abusers from facing the impact of their actions, the import of advocacy, and the individual effects of trauma. We are committed to a diverse cast and crew in telling our story.
About The Project
WHAT WE KNOW follows Abbey, a college freshman, as she navigates her university's Title IX process after being assaulted on campus. At the same time, her campus' newspaper reveals a pattern of mishandling complaints by the university. By showing the testimonies of witnesses at the party where the assault occurred along with Abbey and her assailant, the film explores the Title IX process and the varying personal responses to sexual assault.
Abbey's story mirrors the national conversation around power and the institutional protection of abusers while examining the Title IX hearings as agents of re-victimization. By supporting our film, we can ask how universities might better assist survivors of sexual assault and help us all imagine a more compassionate response to discrimination of all kinds.
It's more than just a movie.
What is Title IX?
Title IX is a federal civil rights law stating that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
This law defines sexual harassment and sexual violence as forms of gender discrimination creating a hostile and unequal educational environment for students and requires colleges to respond immediately and appropriately to allegations of sexual misconduct on their campuses. Still, many universities do not appropriately respond to reports of sexual assault, further deterring the small percentage of survivors who do come forward. Currently, the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights has opened hundreds of investigations into the violation of student rights by their universities due to the lack of appropriate response to complaints filed by students with many more stories of the mistreatment of survivors emerging everyday.
Learn more here.
Why do we want to tell Abbey's story?
What will my donation support?
By donating money to the production of our film, you will be fueling a team of 20+ individual artists (crew members, locations, living expenses during production, rentals, set designers, costumers, performers, and all of the other invaluable people and elements it takes to bring a story to the screen!) who are joining together to bring Abbey's story to life and starting a nuanced conversation around the culture of sexual assault on campus. We break our budget down for you below:
What are the plans for the final film?
We plan to screen WHAT WE KNOW at universities across the country with local panels composed of students, women & LGBTQIA rights activists, and legal experts to faciliate a conversation around best practices for the application of Title IX, ways to shift the culture of sexual assault, and how to make space for considering what justice means within a community.
History of WHAT WE KNOW:
In 2015, the scenes from our feature-length script were rewritten as episodes and filmed with film students at the University of Michigan through an innovatie course on indie film with the goal of becoming an anthology web series, MIDDLEBROOK.
This experience was described in a multi-media essay written by Juliana Roth earlier this year that was nominated for Sundress Publication’s 2018 Best of the Net Anthology:
The original feature-length script for WHAT WE KNOW was a national finalist for a Hopwood Award (2015) and advanced in YouTube’s New Voices Partnership with the Sundance Institute (2016).
The scene we produced of Abbey's testimony is currently being used to train staff in the University of Michigan’s Hospital System on how to work more compassionately with survivors of sexual trauma.
Scenes from this collaboration with the University of Michigan's film department were screened at the Center for the Education of Women’s Advocacy Conference featuring keynote speaker Laverne Cox and alongside the documentary LITTLE STONES by Emmy Award-winning director Sophia Kruz at the Michigan Theater where our writer/director joined a panel of female filmmakers to talk about the process and her hopes for the final version of the story.
The care and excitement towards this project makes our team even more energized to realize the script to its full, original form as a feature with our dedicated team of filmmakers and the support of the communities around us. We've learned so much along the way and have shaped our story to encompass all of the research we've conducted over the years.
Below are some images you can use to share our campaign with your networks. You can write your own reasons in to let us know why you support our film and how Title IX affects your life, then tag our film (@whatweknowfilm) so we can learn more about YOU!
Please follow us, share our campaign, and donate so we can have you by our side as we make our film! You can sign up for our mailing list here to keep in touch as we bring WHAT WE KNOW to life.
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About This Team
Writer & Director: Juliana Roth
Writer and Producer of MIDDLEBROOK, Juliana Roth holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University - Camden where she organized the Writers House Film Series and currently teaches undergraduate creative writing and composition courses.
A 2018 nominee for Sundress Publications Best of the Net Anthology for her fiction and nonfiction, Juliana’s writing has appeared in Entropy, Irish Pages, Pink Monkey Mag, Cleaver, VIDA Review, among other publications. She’s been awarded fellowships to the Community of Writers, Orion Environmental Writers’ Workshop, and Bear River Writers’ Conference. An adaptation of her flash story, “The Hunt,” is in development as a short film to be co-directed with Charles Caster-Dudzick. WHAT WE KNOW will be her first feature film.
Photo by R. Lynch.
Director of Photography: Azure Rouet McBride
Azure Rouet McBride is a Filmmaker, Photographer, Writer, and Editor. She spent half a year in the south of France studying French Cinema and working at the Cannes Film Festival before moving to Brooklyn, New York to complete her B.F.A at Pratt Institute. Whilst earning her degree, she studied under directors Spike Lee, Jonathan Demme and worked alongside Prince as a videographer.
Azure has since moved to Los Angeles to co-found The PNQ Collective (pronounced “pink,") a women-identifying art collective producing artwork, films, dance and music. Her two films “Cleanse” and “Run Brother,” both PNQ collective initiatives, screened at film festivals across the United States.
Azure currently resides in Los Angeles, California and travels nationally and internationally to do her work.
Performer (Abbey) & Assistant Producer: Carly Van Liere
Carly Van Liere is a San Francisco Bay Area based multi disciplinary actor. She is a graduate of University of Michigan’s BFA Acting program and has acted professionally in the Bay Area and metro Detroit. Highlights from UMich include acting in WHAT WE KNOW’s first iteration, MIDDLEBROOK, and a semester of post-dramatic theatre and acting studies in Berlin. Bay Area credits include THE GREAT GOD PAN and THESE SHINING LIVES. She also writes, sings, shreds the ukulele, and works as a model. You can find her at www.carlyvanliere.com.
Producer: V. Prasad
A screenwriter and director, Prasad’s produced work includes the theatrical release OCEAN OF PEARLS, which was developed in the Film Independent Screenwriters Lab. Prasad holds an MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute and teaches the craft at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. As a director, Prasad made the micro-budget feature CONSIDERATION. Other screenplays include SID SAYS, which won the Lawrence Kasdan Scholarship in Creative Writing and RADHA'S PRAYER, developed in the IFP/West Director’s Lab. In addition to his work as a filmmaker, instructor and consultant, Prasad has also served as a programmer for the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles specializing in films from South India and the Indian Diaspora.
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