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A version of this story first appeared in the Jan. 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
A unique partnership between a White House initiative and a documentary filmmaker is about to shine a new light on college campus sexual violence.
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In February, as part of the It’s On Us campaign launched by the White House to educate college students about sexual assault will, begin screening the documentary It Happened Here on college campuses across the country. Directed by Lisa Jackson (2008 Sundance winner The Greatest Silence), the film follows five young women who are victimized through campus sexual assault and whose quests for justice are obstructed by cover-ups and organizational failures.
“It’s a powerful movie,” says It’s On Us campaign director Kristin Avery. “It lays out some of the problems schools have and how much more this issue has to be dealt with.”
Jackson tells THR that she hopes the film, acquired by Participant Media’s TV network Pivot, will provide “a way and a means for young women to engage on this topic because so often parents don’t know how to bring it up and educators give it short shrift.”
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Producer Marjorie Schwartz Nielsen said teaming up with the It’s On Us campaign will give the film “a broad and wide reach. It will amplify it in a way that allows it to become part of the national discourse, reaching legislators and law enforcement.” On Jan. 21, It Happened Here also will begin airing on Pivot.
“We’ve worked with the White House on a variety of topics and they’ve been great partners and supporters of driving attention to issues we have in various films, and in this case they came to us,” said Chad Boettcher, executive vice president of social action and advocacy at Participant. “We’re leveraging everything we can on all platforms to support it.”
The doc is one of several scheduled for release this year on the hot-button subject, including The Hunting Ground, from Kirby Dick (The Invisible War, about rape in the military), which will premiere at Sundance. “We’re really excited to see so many of these films coming,” says Avery. “It will expand the conversation with as many people as possible.”
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