- THE STORY -
In 2010, Tracey Smith, a Creative Director at an ad agency NYC, wins a company-wide contest called The Passion Project. She is given three weeks of paid time off to purse a passion of hers and sets out to make a film about a world renowned animal rescue in upstate NY. After spending a few months living, sleeping, and shooting amongst the 450 animals that lived there, the organization is attacked by PETA and the district attorneys office begins an investigation about its alleged abuse. This leads to its dissolution and the arrest of its founder with whom Tracey had looked up to and admired immensely.
This shocking downfall causes Tracey to have flashbacks and question the blindness in her own life. She can’t help seeing the parallels between the animal abuse and her personal experiences of sexual abuse as a child. Over the next 8 years, Tracey explores her unresolved experiences, confronts her past and embarks on an investigative journey seeking answers and searching for memories. What she discovers is a long history of traumatic multi-generational abuse that is deeply ingrained within her own family system.
Understanding the urgency of telling this story and stopping the silent epidemic that affects so many families today, Tracey continues filming. She finds that so many victims wish this issue would stay tucked away and that they often turn a blind eye to it. This is her main struggle in bringing this disturbing reality to the surface. Pushing through the deep-seated resistance, Tracey believes that until victims of abuse can find the strength to confront their situation and the perpetrators in power, no real change will happen.
What unfolds is a tragic story where fear and shame meet resilience and courage. A story of one voice speaking up to end a long history of deeply ingrained silence and a cycle of abuse that’s haunted a family for generations. In the end, the story follows the process of Tracey and her partner starting a family of their own. The next generation. Which is another motivation for Tracey to keep speaking the truth, for her future family, and all the families affected by sexual abuse and the silence that fuels it. This is an intimate personal story but it’s one of a million more all over the world not being told right now. And it’s time the Me Too movement makes its way into the home and turns on a light.
- CREATING CHANGE -
The Me Too movement has been primarily about power dynamics in the workplace and we haven’t yet seen how it manifests on the family level. Sexual abuse and power plays show up in epidemic proportions through family lineages. This pressure to keep quiet is not unique to my family but prevalent in families everywhere. Not only do we have to deal with it in the workplace where you could harm and potentially lose your career, but it’s profoundly shocking how many of us go home to it too. Here, the risk of coming forward is the tragic potential of losing your own family.
There are over 42 million cases of sexual abuse in this country alone.1 Statistically, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys is a victim of sexual abuse before the age of 18. Roughly 66-90% of abuse victims will never tell anyone and 90% of the abused children are victims of someone they know, love or trust - more than half by family members.2
Seemingly good people reinforce this abhorrent pressure to stay silent so as to “not break up the family” and so many of us live in fear and shame, keeping quiet just to maintain the peace.Our film will show that this is not a singular situation but a much larger and deeply disturbing widespread issue; an ongoing epidemic that transcends religion, color, gender, socio-economics, and geographical location.