“Happy Hour,” a short film, will be based on a poem I wrote when deep in the labyrinth of recovery, after one of my parent’s best friends—whom I called “Uncle”—sexually abused me from before I could speak until I was 16.
The film will merge stunning imagery, spoken word and a haunting musical score to reveal a triggering moment of traumatic memory and the visceral connection between those often unconscious acts of complicity and very conscious acts of grooming that go hand-in-hand with sexual abuse.
Why This Film Now?
Every child deserves to be safe and happy.
But one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before turning 18. Said another way: Every six minutes, a child is molested. That’s 240 children. Every day. This translates into roughly 40 million adult survivors in the U.S. alone.
The Jerry Sandusky/Penn State scandal, among others hitting headlines, has brought these crimes—perpetrated mainly by people children know, love and trust—into the public spotlight, where they belong. Sadly, though, history shows that periods of inquiry are quickly followed by periods of suppression. So it’s imperative to find new ways to keep the conversation alive.
That's why my team and I are making “Happy Hour.”
I'm a statistic. But I’m also a human being. And it’s through the very human ability to tell a story, to go beyond statistics and show how these cycles of abuse play out that true understanding and a shift in consciousness can come.
What Your Contribution Means
This project is a labor of love for everyone involved—including Julianne Moore, whom I'm honored to have narrating the film.
My team and I are running this campaign to cover production and post-production costs: to rent lighting and other equipment, and to minimally pay the actors and crew for their significant contributions.
We deeply appreciate anything you can give or do to help us reach our goal. Please pass this link on to your family and friends.
If we exceed our goal, even better!
We'll use any additional funds to enhance production values and market the film. We’re currently storyboarding and scouting locations. This fall we'll finish casting and then shoot and edit in New York City.
We anticipate that “Happy Hour” will receive a lot of exposure—especially next April (2013) when we launch it during National Poetry Month and National Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention Month.
“Pay attention to what they tell you to forget,” poet Muriel Rukeyser wrote.
The transformative power of poetry and storytelling—particularly through the medium of film—helps us to do just that.
With your generous support, “Happy Hour” will compel people to pay closer attention to this urgent and ongoing problem, so that more children can grow up safe and happy.
GRETL CLAGGETT (Writer, Producer, Director)www.gretlclaggett.com
Gretl is a writer, speaker, teacher, consultant and activist with a mission to help others create powerful, free, authentic lives. Her father is an avid film collector, so she grew up watching the classics on 16MM—dreaming of one day making her own movies. After an acting career, then a stint as a video and events director and producer, she spent a decade working as a saleswoman.
Gretl holds an MFA in acting from Western Illinois University, an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA in creative nonfiction from Goucher College. A 2008 Pushcart Poetry Prize nominee, her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies. Her debut collection, MONSOON SOLO: Voices Once Submerged (WordTech Editions), was published in January 2012. She’s a regularly featured reader in New York City and has been headlined at several venues in London and Cambridge. She performed her poem “Happy Hour” for more than 700 people in Charleston, S.C., at the 10th anniversary gala of Darkness to Light, an organization focused on preventing child sexual abuse. Gretl is a member of the RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) Speakers Bureau. This past June, she was a featured poet at the 2012 Piccolo Spoleto Festival.
Gretl teaches an ongoing memoir class at the 92nd Street Y and frequently contributes essays and interviews to HeadButler.com. Her piece My Letter to Jerry Sandusky, Coward was featured in The Daily Beast. But Why Didn’t You Say Something?, an article about complicity, recently appeared on The Good Men Project. She’s also been spotlighted on The Nervous Breakdown—an online magazine that promotes emerging authors and artists from around the world—and she blogs for She Writes. Gretl is currently working on her first novel. Read a review of MONSOON SOLO (in which "Happy Hour" appears) on Head Butler.
EVE CUYEN (DP, Editor, Sound Designer) www.harlempictures.com
Eve is an artist and lover of all things film. She has a degree in music, and is a sound designer, editor and cinematographer with award-winning movies to her credit. Working mainly for independent cinema and television, you can see her work projected in film festivals throughout Europe and the United States. Her credits include Foreign Letters, Living River, Our Hawaii, And Then Came Love, Twisted Fortune, Kali Ma, Zheng He for History International, and The Sublet, a feature comedy, to name a few. Her full list of credits is available at www.imdb.com/name/nm1993.
CHRISTINA ASENCIO (Second Camera, On-site Sound)
Christina has an extensive background in videography and storytelling. She served in the US Navy as a Reporter/Combat Correspondent for more than 11 years, traveling around the world producing news stories. She currently works at NY1 as a photographer/news assistant, producing stories from around New York City.
DAVID CIERI (Composer of Original Score) http://davidcieri.com
Cieri composed the score for internationally known visual artist Marcel Dzama’s film The Lotus Eaters (2010) and performed the score “live” for two months at the esteemed David Zwirner Gallery in Manhattan. The New York Times reported that the exhibition was “greatly buoyed by its musical accompaniment, especially on Saturday, when the pianist David Cieri improvises to the action on screen, delivering one of the most poignant aesthetic experiences currently available ...”
Since March of 2008 he has been working with Ken Burns as a composer for Burns’ documentary films released on PBS, including the 2009 Emmy Award winning National Parks series, an addendum to Baseball: The Tenth Inning, released in 2010, and Prohibition. In 2014, The Roosevelts - An Intimate History will premiere on PBS. Cieri composed and performed the score for this film and it sits alongside the needle drop music used. In addition, Cieri has composed scores for over 20 films since 2008, including Erik Ewers' Risk, Michael Buscemi's Doc C , B61, and Francesco Saviano's Two Birds. Cieri has also composed the score for Raymond De Felitta's new film Booker's Place - A Mississippi Story, which recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and had a two week run in theaters in New York City and LA.
Cieri is an adjunct professor at the City College of New York, teaching Introduction to Jazz and Introduction to Music. Cieri was also a guest lecturer at the Berklee College of Music in April of 2010 for their composers series. As of March 2011, he's teaching ongoing classes on improvisation and The Art of Listening at the 92nd Street Y.
GEORGE TYNAN CROWLEY (Actor: the “Uncle”)
George is a performer/playwright/director and educator. He holds an MFA in Directing from Yale School of Drama where he studied with Lee Breuer and was awarded the John Badham Award for Directing. He has an MA in Performance Studies from Northwestern University (worked with Frank Galati), and he studied acting in New York City with Uta Hagen and voice with Kristin Linklater.
He played Gabe in Dinner with Friends (Best Actor, Sarasota Theatre Arts Award), Ishaq in Two Jews Walk Into A War, Oscar Wilde in Gross Indecency, Malcolm in Ten Unknowns, and the Father in Proof, all at Florida Studio Theatre. Most recently, he played the lead in Tracy Letts’ Superior Donuts at Albany’s Capital Rep. He has performed with HERE Arts Center, Midtown International Theatre Festival (receiving a personal acting citation from Talkin’Broadway.com), the American Shakespeare Theatre, the Asolo, the Colorado, New Jersey and Princeton Shakespeare Festivals, Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., and the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, where he played Oscar Wilde in the East Coast premiere of Tom Stoppard’s The Invention of Love.
George has co-scripted adaptations of The Grapes of Wrath, As I Lay Dying, and The Old Man and the Sea for Wynn Handman’s “Literature to Life” program through The American Place Theatre, for whom he performs the one-man Hemingway show. He has appeared in film and TV, including Esther Bell’s films Godass and Exist. For two seasons, he served as the Assistant to Zoe Caldwell when she was the Artistic Director of Stratford’s American Shakespeare Theatre. As an Artistic Director in 2005-2006, he produced six original plays in New York City.
ENRIQUE CUBILLO (Still Photography) www.85photo.com/
Enrique studied film at New York University. With 20 years of commercial photographic experience, he's played a key role in developing successful images and campaigns in industries as diverse as finance, legal, music, food, academic services, public relations, publishing and advertising.
The CD and Book Rewards
About David Cieri's Music:
"David Cieri and his music are a perfect fit in our creative family. He is fearless on the piano. He is a combination of virtuosity, sensitivity and curiosity—discovering new ways to express complex emotion through music, which is the backbone of our films. David Cieri is a true artist." Ken Burns
"Cieri delivers really beautiful moods and strong playing all around ... it's real music, not trapped by boxes, definitions, genres or styles ... it creates its own style ... honest, imaginative, fearless ..." John Zorn
About Gretl Claggett's MONSOON SOLO: Voice Once Submerged:
“Gretl Claggett writes very exact and graceful poems that explore the dark corners of life. This is not nice poetry. It’s powerful work that sticks in the head long after reading.” Stephen Dobyns
“Searing stuff. The poet’s people are identified at defining times of their lives. Monsoon Solo is a real page-turner. The reader has to know what happens next in these vivid dramas.” Robert Minhinnick
“With a rare combination of boldness and grace, Gretl Claggett writes her luminous poems. Her uncanny emotional intelligence and unerring sense of drama guide her lines toward metaphorical richness and psychological revelation. For those of us who turn to poetry for the startling surprise, for the luxury of image, for a whole landscape in a handful of lines, Claggett is the poet to read and cherish.” Molly Peacock
“Gretl Claggett’s poems are at once drawn irresistibly to the human world—to its ardors and longings, its terrible accidents and violence—and shocked and stunned by it. The fullness of their moral power stems from the ability this poet has to stand at the center of exquisite, dangerous tension and not turn away, not draw back in fear, not flinch.” Vijay Seshadri
“The poems in this collection are brave, strong and beautifully crafted. Gretl Claggett has an eye for the resonant, suggestive image and a rare ability to tell a story in lines. There’s a rightness of both rhythm and tone that’s imperative to these searing poems, with their mordant wit and wisdom, their inward and outward transformation. Monsoon Solo will capture an audience that likes its poetry vital and necessary.” Stuart Dischell
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- (33 days)