About this project
WE ARE ALL CITIZENS OF THE WEB
One of the most important things I learned as the co-producer/writer of the documentary BULLY, in the year we spent filming with kids and families across the US, is that the leadership sets the tone. Where leadership demonstrates respect, dignity, justice, compassion and inclusion, communities thrive. The work we began with BULLY – more urgent than ever – continues.
The internet today is a battleground.
And now more than ever, we need the voices and leadership of women. The web is perhaps the most important public space in our communities, and one in which we all have a stake. Yet online harassment is silencing women and preventing them from taking part in all that the internet offers.
For the past year, I've been filming with women across the United States, who've been the targets of different forms of online harassment: threats of violence, privacy violations, stalking, impersonation, non-consensual pornography and reputation harm. Over the course of the year, I've witnessed each woman's life be profoundly impacted by digital abuse - both offline and online.
I've also watched each woman confront harassment in her own ways: by speaking out, by practicing journalism, by becoming advocate for other targets, by taking on the laws. I'm capturing these stories with the belief documentary films have the power to transform our communities, and catalyze change.
NETIZENS is a movement to make the web just and accessible for all. But we need your help to make that happen! As citizens of the internet, we can shift culture and solve big problems when we all come together.
I hope you’ll join us!
Right now, I'm aiming to raise $50,000 to edit the film so that I can get this urgent project to audiences as soon as possible. With an incredible team of super talented (all women!) cinematographers, I've currently filmed approximately 180 hours of footage, and am excited to bring on a talented and creative editor with the vision to craft these stories into a feature-length film. But that takes time. In addition to supporting 6 months of editing, funds will also go towards hiring an assistant editor, an edit space, and to creating a musical score to dance those internet blues away to. And maybe a few cups of coffee.
*For contributions to each increasing reward tier, you will also receive rewards from all of the lower tiers, except where limited.
LADIES IN THE HOUSE -THE TEAM
Director: Cynthia Lowen (PGA) is an award-winning filmmaker and the co-producer and writer of BULLY, a feature documentary film following five kids and families through “a year in the life” of America’s bullying crisis, released by The Weinstein Company. Lauded by reviewers, BULLY was nominated for two Emmys and awarded the Alfred I. Dupont-Columbia Award for excellence in journalism. Drawing on the power of BULLY’s stories, the filmmakers created The BULLY Project Social Action Campaign, a collaborative effort in partnership with multiple organizations, foundations, brands and corporate sponsors, sharing a commitment to ending bullying and transforming society.
Executive Producer: Abigail E. Disney is an award-winning filmmaker, philanthropist and the CEO and president of Fork Films. An active supporter of peacebuilding, she is passionate about advancing women's roles in the public sphere. Disney's 20+ films and series focus on social issues, sharing a quality of spotlighting extraordinary people who speak truth to power. Disney's directorial debut, THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, was selected for the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. Disney has also executive produced films on a wide array of social issues, including 1971, FAMILY AFFAIR, CITIZEN KOCH, HOT GIRLS WANTED, THE INVISIBLE WAR (Academy Award Nominee®, Best Documentary Feature), RETURN, and SUN COME UP (Academy Award® Nominee, Best Documentary Short).
Executive Producer: Gini Reticker is an Academy Award nominated and Emmy Award winning director and producer with a distinguished career that spans more than 20 years. She recently directed THE TRIALS OF SPRING, which has played at Human Rights festivals around the world and was accompanied by six shorts that launched on The New York Times. Reticker previously won the Tribeca Best Documentary Award for PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL, the story of Liberian women whose actions helped bring an end to a brutal civil war. She co-produced THE BETRAYAL (NERAHKOON) ¬ nominated for both an Academy Award and an Independent Spirit Award and served as executive producer on THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, 1971, LIVE NUDE GIRLS UNITE, CAMERAPERSON, ALIAS RUBY BLADE, CITIZEN KOCH, HOT GIRLS WANTED and SHE'S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE'S ANGRY.
Cinematographer: Cailin Yatsko is a New York City-based cinematographer and co-founder of Bicephaly Pictures. Cailin has shot over 100 pieces of digital content for a variety of brands including Bloomingdale's, Artsy, Gagosian, MoMA, and Paperless Post. She conceptualized and shot four web series for James Franco TV, Glamour, and Dailymotion.
Cinematographer: Rachel Lears’ most recent feature documentary, THE HAND THAT FEEDS, won awards and recognition at Full Frame, DOC NYC, AFI Docs, Chicago Latino, and numerous other festivals on the 2014-15 circuit. It was supported by Sundance Documentary Film Program, the Ford Foundation, Latino Public Broadcasting, Chicken & Egg Pictures, New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), Bertha BRITDOC Connect Fund, and the Cinereach Project at Sundance Institute.
Composer: Kevin O'Connor is the multi-instrumentalist and creative force behind Talkdemonic, a cinematic instrumental rock duo which released four records while touring the country with bands like The National, The Flaming Lips, and Modest Mouse. Kevin’s music has been featured in movies like Jason Reitman’s THANK YOU FOR SMOKING (2006) and Mike Birbiglia’s SLEEPWALK WITH ME (2012). His composing for documentary includes scores for the feature drama BIRDS OF NEPTUNE (2015), FINDING STRONG (2013), and the feature documentary BACK WATER (2017).
Designer: Sue Walsh is a Creative Director at SYPartners and is Faculty at School of Visual Arts, teaching The Feeling of Design. Previously, she worked with Milton Glaser for almost a decade and has a continued independent practice for 15 years. In addition to practicing in the field of design, Sue is a co-founder and Managing Partner of The Water Table, a dinner boat in New York Harbor she owns with her wife, Capt. Kelli Farwell.
A FILM - AND A MOVEMENT!
I'm confident that NETIZENS has an enthusiastic audience waiting and ready to use this film to spark dialogue and action, and tackle this enormous issue. Expanding on my work on The BULLY Project - making measurable impact in preventing bullying - I'm also building a coalition of partners fostering constructive digital citizenship and working to make the web a just and accessible space for all.
NETIZENS will be a hub for tools, resources, community and support. During the campaign, we're partnering with HeartMob, an online platform empowering bystanders to support targets of online harassment, and will be documenting any harassment we receive and asking for your support. We're also partnering with the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI) and will be sharing research and fantastic tools and graphics they've created to confront non-consensual image exploitation.
ABOUT THE FILM
NETIZENS—directed by BULLY co-producer/writer Cynthia Lowen—exposes the proliferation of cyber harassment faced by women, spreading from the web to the most intimate corners of their lives. The feature documentary follows women who are targets of harassment, along with lawyers, advocates, policymakers and others, as they confront digital abuse and strive for equality and justice online.
NETIZENS challenges the notion cyber harassment is “only” online, depicting the repercussions on targets’ lives: lost jobs, thwarted educations, damaged reputations, offline harassment and stalking, and countless hours devoted to containing attacks against a backdrop of mounting legal fees and psychological distress.
The internet as the “wild west”—where abuse is the price of admission—is quickly changing. As the web emerges as the most important public space in our communities, and equal access a civil right, a new generation of lawyers, advocates, technologists, policymakers and others are challenging the status quo.
NETIZENS bears witness as a courageous wave of individuals transform the web as we know it.
Risks and challenges
As the co-producer and writer of the feature documentary BULLY, and as the co-author and editor of two books on the subject of bullying and harassment, I am uniquely qualified to identify and tell the stories that will reveal the scope of this problem with depth, complexity and compassion.
When it comes to independent documentary films, the greatest challenge is always finding creative ways to support production and post-production, and to get the project to the finish line. After we have successfully fulfilled our Kickstarter funding goal, NETIZENS will have several months of editing ahead, over which time, the stories will be crafted. I am for the edit to be done in the fall of 2017, at which time, I'll submit the project to film festivals for a 2018 premiere.
Artistically, my primary goal and challenge with this project is to cinematically depict online harassment and the immense toll it takes on targets’ online and offline lives. Through an intimate window into the ways in which harassment has changed each woman’s life, I hope to challenge attitudes that minimize digital abuse, and to debunk this notion that online harassment is “not real.” By spending time in participants' homes, workplaces and environments, we witness how every aspect of their personal and professional lives is affected.
It's my hope that this film will be met with enthusiasm from film festival programmers and distributors, and be accessible to diverse audiences around the world - in theaters and on television, through community screenings, online, and other platforms.
Because those who speak out against online harassment frequently become targets themselves, I anticipate the potential the project may be targeted, and will be sharing any harassment with our partner, HeartMob. As policies attempting to prevent online harassment of women are often attacked as violations of free speech, this film enters extremely volatile territory, and I expect NETIZENS will generate a lot of dialogue; with the help of this community and the film's partners, I seek to ensure this work remains respectful and constructive.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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