Though she didn’t
plan it this way, writer/director Carmen Elly-Wilkerson’s current dramatic short
film in progress, “The Reunion,” could not be coming out at a better time.
With all the
controversy regarding Bill Cosby, Ms. Elly-Wilkerson’s film deals with that
very subject of sexual assault, and its long lingering after effects on its victims.
The film centers around four young women who find themselves in a serious dilemma
the morning after a party, where one of them drank too much and was attacked. The
friends then have to make the wrenching decision about what they must do next –
tell their parents, call the police or, as in so many real instances, to keep
it a secret.
The film was
inspired by a personal experience of the filmmaker, who adds that she felt
that she had to make the film because, as uncomfortable as it is to talk about
sexual assault – a phrase she prefers to use instead of the word rape because “it encompasses the grey areas” – it must be
“I know because this is
my story. I KNOW I’m not alone. I know
all girls can relate to some aspect of this subject. This story needs to be told because many
girls are suffering through it alone. They can’t say it out loud, can’t tell
anyone…can’t trust their secret so they live with the shame.”
adds that “It’s my hope that the film
will be shown and someone will see themselves in the argument and feel
Ms. Elly-Wilkerson, who is originally from Chicago and now lives in Los Angeles, and is a graduate of the American Film Institute Directing Program, has started an
Indiegogo campaign to raise the funds needed to finish post-production on her
film by early next year, in time for the 2015 film festival circuit and
elsewhere. Though donations have been good and much appreciated, things have
slowed down of late, and time is of the essence.
And as the filmmaker says, she believes that “The Reunion” has a mission because “I
believe a film is an opportunity to not only entertain, but to educate. To
create awareness, to maybe change the world.”