As you may know, we've been filming since 2015. Many of the girls were minors then, and though have continued to be enthusiastic about participating in The Long Rescue, we want to make sure they know what they're getting themselves into. So.... we're holding a consent retreat, maybe the first of its kind!
What is a consent retreat, you ask?
Well, when I was thinking about showing our protagonists the footage from their stories, I realized that they needed time and a safe space to really think about what it would mean to share these stories. They should have a therapist available, and maybe they could talk to survivors who have already gone public with their stories.
I had this inkling of an idea when I participated in the Great Chicago Pitch last year (ICYMI: we won!) and I mentioned this idea of a consent retreat on stage. After the pitch, a man introduced himself and said he was interested in funding our retreat through his foundation. !!! (I realize this sounds like a fairy tale, but I swear it’s true.)
Long story short, the Manaaki Foundation is funding two retreats over the next two years with the girls. They introduced us to Anne Ream of The Voices and Faces Project, who in addition to running incredible writing workshops for survivors, wrote a powerful book telling the stories of survivors of sexual violence. She will be facilitating the workshop, and she introduced us to two Filipina co-facilitators, Professor Annalisa Enrile and Maitet Ledesma, as well.
The retreat will include:
Also joining us is Jethro Patalinghug, our creative producer and editor. After watching hours and hours of the girls’ footage, he will finally get to meet them in person. He has already brought so much cultural insight and creative strategy to the film, so it will be great for him to be there in the field.
In spite of planning for months, we are planning to be flexible, and change plans and programming as needs arise. None of us has done this before, so we'll be checking in daily to evaluate the day and see how things progress. And we will do our best to document our successes and failures, so that we can share this concept. Our hope is that other filmmakers can build on what we've learned. So stay tuned, we hope we have lots to share when we get back!