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‘Tightly Wound’ is an Animated Journey Through a Filmmaker’s Personal Struggle

"I wish I had had access to this information and could have heard from women with similar experiences – maybe if I had, I could have found treatment sooner, or maybe I would have felt less alone."

“Tightly Wound”

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Tightly Wound

Logline: A woman recounts her experience living with chronic pelvic pain – how health professionals have failed her, men have rejected her, and shame, anger, and hatred have plagued her body.

Elevator Pitch:

“Tightly Wound” is a 15-minute, personal essay film about my experience with vaginismus – a pelvic floor condition characterized by involuntary contractions of the pelvic floor muscles causing pain, penetration problems, and inability to have intercourse.

The film opens in a physical therapy session, and then jumps back to the first time I tried to use a tampon and failed. It recounts the frustrating doctors visits, all the ways I tried to hide my secret, my progress in physical therapy, and the humiliating ways guys have rejected me because I couldn’t have sex with them.

Production Team:
Executive Producer: Sara Hirsh Bordo (Director of “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story”)
Writer/Director/Producer: Shelby Hadden
Producer/ Animator: Sebastian Bisbal
Re-Recording Mixer: Korey Periera (“Boyhood,” “Everybody Wants Some!!”)
Foley Artist: Susan Fitz-Simon (“Everybody Wants Some!!”)
Composer: John Churchill

About the Film:

It is estimated that 6% of those with vaginas will have vaginismus at some point in their lives, but it’s impossible to determine an exact number since shame and embarrassment keep so many women from seeking medical care. Telling my story will be very important for these women and their loved ones because stories like it aren’t out there. I wish I had had access to this information and could have heard from women with similar experiences – maybe if I had, I could have found treatment sooner, or maybe I would have felt less alone.

Current Status: We are currently fundraising.

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