About this project
Tightly Wound is a 15-minute personal essay film about my experience with chronic pelvic pain. I have vaginismus, a pelvic floor condition characterized by involuntary contractions of the pelvic floor muscles, causing pain, penetration problems, and inability to have intercourse. While some can't get it up, I can't get it in.
Animation is a time-consuming and labor intensive process. We are raising the $20,000 to fund the creation of beat board, storyboard, and animation for the film.
The film is based on an essay I wrote that was published in BUST Magazine in the Oct/Nov 2016 issue. I also shared my story at BedPost Confessions - Texas's singular storytelling series on gender, sexuality, and social change.
2-D animation creates an abstract interpretation of reality, which provides a means of telling a difficult personal story. We are able to depict anatomy, bodily functions, and intimacy without encountering logistical obstacles and squeamishness that a live-action film would. Animation allows us to expand the narrative by visually and artistically illustrating internal thoughts, feelings, and fears. Shelby’s pelvis evaporates into thin air, magazine covers come to life and taunt her, and gynecologists on a factory conveyor belt take their turn to examine her.
I’ve officially reached that age where it seems that everyone is getting married and having babies, and I’ve never even had a boyfriend. Dating is not even fun for me, because I have this big secret looming over me like a black cloud, a secret that will send them running. After telling one guy I was dating about my vaginismus, he left my apartment, promised to call me, and I never heard from him again. Another laughed in my face and said, “That’s hilarious.” One waited until the next day to text me that he didn’t want to see me anymore because sex was “too important” to him.
Being rejected over and over again for one body part really... sucks.
Living with chronic pain that no one has ever heard of and doesn’t understand is extremely frustrating and lonely. But this is not a rare condition! It is estimated that two out of one thousand women have vaginismus at some point in their lives, though it’s impossible to determine an exact number since shame and embarrassment keep so many women from seeking medical care.
The problem is that all these people are suffering with it, but we never talk about it. We bottle it up and assume it’s only our pain. So we don’t share what we’ve learned or commiserate over our shared experiences. It means that our stories don’t get told. Every book, movie, song, and TV show portrays sex as easy, fast, and fun. Characters who are virgins are depicted as prude, uptight, and crazy. Tightly Wound will interrupt these narratives, sparking a dialogue about the limitations and failings of women’s health, perceptions of female sexuality, the negative connotation of virginity, and the expectations surrounding dating and sex. Tightly Wound will educate, raise awareness, and build a community amongst people who have similar experiences - experiences that render many women silent and isolated.
Shelby Hadden is a documentary filmmaker whose films explore issues of gender and identity. Her most recent documentary, “Ms. Texas Senior,” follows a beauty pageant for women 60 years and older. Her films have screened at various film festivals including the Nashville Film Festival, Sidewalk Film Festival, and BEA Festival of Media Arts. She is currently a producer at Bring Light & Sound, a film production and creative agency in Austin, TX, a lecturer in the University of Texas at Austin Radio-Television-Film department, and a producer on the feature documentary Skin Deep: The Battle Over Morgellons. Shelby holds a B.A. Comm. from the University of Alabama and an MFA in Film and Media Production from the University of Texas at Austin.
Sebastián is a filmmaker, animator and visual artist from Rancagua, Chile. In 2003 he began his undergraduate studies on Audiovisual Directing at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. Since then, his work has continued to explore fantastical and surreal elements within real-life situations. His undergraduate thesis film "Cazuela," a mixture between stop-motion animation and live-action narrative, has been in many film festivals all around the world. It earned the Best Short Film Award at the 2008 Valdivia International Film Fest, the most renowned film festival in Chile and one of the most important in South America. Sebastián has also worked as an independent videographer, animator, and motion graphics artist since 2008. Among these projects are two video installations for the Chilean architects Smiljan Radic and Alejandro Aravena, both showed during the Venice Biennale in 2010 and 2012 respectively. In 2012, Sebastián was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, and later in 2013, he was awarded with a Chilean Government’s Scholarship to pursue his MFA in Film and Media Production at the University of Texas at Austin.
Prior to founding Women Rising, a company dedicated to empowering women and girls through unique content and experiences, Sara held positions in media and entertainment including Executive Director of Interactive Marketing at Paramount Pictures, VP of Digital Marketing at MGM Studios, and CEO & Co-Founder of NowLive which was acquired by Live Media Group in 2013. Sara directed and produced the first TEDxAustinWomen, which ultimately became the #1 viewed TEDxWomen event in the world across 58 countries. Sara’s directorial debut, “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story”, broke Kickstarter records with its fundraising campaign becoming one of the site’s most successful crowdfunded documentaries of all time. A BRAVE HEART premiered opening weekend of the 2015 South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival, went on to win 10 awards from 9 festivals, qualified for the Academy Award, secured worldwide broadcast distribution, named a double honoree by the 2016 Webby Awards, and most recently selected by the U.S. State Department as Film Envoy for the American Film Showcase. Recently named by Inc. as a “Top Female Social Good Startup to Watch in 2016″ Women Rising gives a percentage of profits from each project to a related cause. Sara is a member of the Producer’s Guild of America New Media Council, was selected to attend The White House Women Entrepreneurship Conference, The White House Champions for Change Summit, has been nominated twice for Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneur, and has been featured in publications including Forbes, Inc., Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, IndieWire, Yahoo!, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.
As the owner and creative director of Soularity Sound, Korey has worked on a variety of narrative and documentary projects including Steve Mims's award winning documentary, Incendiary: The Willingham Case, Deepak Chetty’s 3d Sci-Fi Thriller, “Hard Reset,” and Jordan Haro’s Documentary produced for Direct TV, Rush Brothers. Korey also joined the Soundcrafter team in 2013 and has since worked on many television shows and films including Shipping Wars, My 600lb Life, Manglehorn, boyhood, and Everybody Wants Some!!.
Susan is the manager of Soundcrafter. Her two paths of music and dance merged and Susan found her calling in the craft of Foley. She worked at the Warner Burbank stage and many other Los Angeles Foley stages until 2007 when she moved to Austin. Foley credits include the TV series: Friends, That 70's Show, Survivor, The Apprentice and the features Bernie, Before Midnight, Boyhood and Everybody Wants Some!!.
John M. Churchill is an American composer and multi-instrumentalist from Kansas City now residing in Austin, Texas. His work runs across a wide variety of mediums including orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo piano, musical theatre, short film, and animation.
Risks and challenges
Tightly Wound is challenging me in new ways as a filmmaker. It is the first hybrid film I have ever directed and it requires me to be more open and vulnerable as its director and main character. It is also my first animated film, which is why producer and award-winning animator, Sebastian Bisbal's collaboration is so invaluable. Finally, it is an important step up in terms of the project and the budget - a step I am eager to take. I have assembled a very talented team and we have worked together to create a production plan that will lead to a compelling, powerful film.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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