Guest Post: Jill’s Response to Our 2nd Rough Cut Screening

This from our mentor/intern Jill Seidenstein: In response to 2nd Screening for The Girl Who Knew Too Much

Last night I attended the second public screening for the rough cut of The Girl Who Knew Too Much. (Full disclosure, I had attended an earlier private rough-cut screening, so this was my second viewing). I was there primarily in the role as note-taker, although I had my own responses to the movie, too.

 

Amy and Scott had invited a panel to speak after the screening and then there was an opportunity for people who had attended to share their impressions and respond to a few questions. Just as with the other discussions I’ve had with Amy and other people who’ve seen the rough-cut, there were several threads that emerged: globalization, girls’ education, mental health, poverty, access to food and water, the role of NGOs, caste and social status, tradition clashing with new ideas, rural and urban tensions, and how it is taboo across many cultures to talk about mental health issues, particularly suicide.

 

The discussion was engaged and many people in the audience had comments. There was a group of Nepalese men who had a chance to speak, and what they said was so heartwarming. One of the men spoke of going back to Nepal with his wife, who was doing mental health work and training through the Peace Corps. There is a general attitude in Nepal that the feelings are the fault of the person having them, and that person will be blamed for their feelings. So instead of speaking out or finding someone to share their feelings with, they become embarrassed and silence themselves. Another one of the men said, “in my own town, once you are segregated if you have dementia, you will see kids stone that person. You will be outcasted.” They testified that not only is there a lack of awareness about mental health issues, but there is also a complete lack of support for mental health.

 

After a few minutes of the Nepalis sharing, one of them said, “We would like to pledge $5,000, just to give it a kick!” There was a round of applause, and I was stunned. I have felt that Amy and Scott are trying to be culturally sensitive and work with Nepalis to make sure they are telling the story in a way that honors the people, rather than impose a narrative. When I was at the earlier screening, a Nepali woman had the same response – that this kind of movie and story would be welcome in Nepal. To hear this group of men who wanted to support this story that will help Nepalis, but specifically girls, was incredibly moving.

 

Amy responded to them, saying, “Having the support from Nepalis, it means everything.”

 

One of the men said, “We can’t do anything. You are showing the road to us. Thank you for going over there and doing this great thing.”

 

Amy said, “We need to stop thinking us/them. We just happened to be thrown in.”

 

That is why this project is so powerful. There are so many threads, so much complexity, so many layers. One attendee last night said, “I’m excited about how this film is a question, and how the film you set out to make was an answer. I’m so glad you’re making this film.” Milan Kundera said in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, “A question with no answer is a barrier that cannot be breached. In other words, it is questions with no answers that set the limit of human possibilities, describe the boundaries of human existence.” Amy and Scott are willing to head into that realm to test where the limits of our humanity lies.

If you missed our last two rough cut screenings, no worries. We are having another one as part of a gallery show at Cullom Gallery in the International District. My amazing friend, Mugi Takei, is curating show of drawings and poems by six women entitled, Each moment we live our lives shine. She has included a The Girl Who Knew Too Much on Dec. 12th @ 6pm.

Put it on your calendars, and I will remind you as we get closer.

Also, the opening of the gallery show is this First Thursday.

Each moment we live our lives shine
drawings and poems by six women
Curated by Mugi Takei
December 6, 2012 – January 26, 2013
Preview, December 6th, 6 – 8 pm

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