by Heather Morgan Camera
A 911 recording preserves the voice of a 6-year old girl sobbing into the phone while her mother screams in the background. A little boy's crayon drawing depicts his mother locked in a dog kennel as the child's face looks out from a scribbled house.
Kids provide a compelling call to action in "Shattered Lives," a 45-minute documentary film on domestic violence in Boulder County. It will premiere Nov. 11 at Boulder Theatre and local producer Lori Joyce said it's dedicated to her grandchildren.
Seated in her Boulder home Monday, the longtime peace activist explained that she has been producing documentaries since 1982-on issues ranging from war in Central America to nuclear weapons.
"Because of things going on in my own personal life, and choices my daughters were making in their lives and relationships, I realized that we're not going to have peace in the world until we have peace in the home," said Joyce, 46.
During the November benefit, Joyce also hopes to recoup some of the films $75,000 production cost. So far, she's been able to raise $15,000. No other showings are planned, although she hopes the film will be shown at schools and be made available in libraries.
The film incorporates
interviews with Boulder County Sheriff George Epp; Mary Kopman, executive director
of the Longmont Coalition for Women in Crisis; former Boulder mayor Leslie Durgin
and former Boulder police chief Tom Koby.
Musicians such as Big Head, Todd and the Monster, Sarah McLachlan, U2, The Pretenders and others allowed Joyce to incorporate their music into the film's soundtrack.
Epp says domestic violence ranks in the top three major crimes in Boulder County, alongside drunken driving and child abuse or sexual assault.
A report from the Boulder County Safehouse, which shelters abused women, offers specifics. It shows that of the 44 new women who sought help at the shelter from July through September this year, 31 percent said they were abused by their husbands, 37 percent named their cohabiting boyfriends and 10 percent named their divorced husbands.
A group of University of Colorado journalism students who previewed part of the film Tuesday sat motionless as they listened to an interview with Cynthia Lanham. After enduring years of abuse, a judge sentenced Lanham in 1995 to three years of probation for stabbing and killing her husband.
"I'd wake up to him strangling me a lot of times," Lanham recounts tearfully at the beginning of the film. "I hid a lot. I hid how I felt, I hid how scared I was and nobody knew...
"He had a technique, and I think they all do after a while. Don't get 'em where it shows, the back of the head, the back, arms, legs...he hit the back of my head a lot. He pulled my hair out a lot."
Todd Schroeder, one of the students, said that before he watched the film, he had heard a lot about domestic violence but he had never felt strongly about it because he'd never witnessed it.
The video shows the emotions and traumatizing effects that domestic violence has on people, and how it affects their outlook on life. I felt the most sympathy for the young children...Everyone feels small at some point in their life and feels like they can't do anything to stop the situation."
Kopman, a frequent voice in the film, provides much of the statistical information. But more than anything else, Kopman said she hopes the film makes an impact.
"I want you to not forget it and want to do something about it. Whether it's volunteering, reaching out to a woman being battered or who you think may be in a battering kind of situation, whatever you can do as a person in a community to make the community safer." Kopman said.
Epp said he hopes the film is distributed as widely as possible because it touches people more than statistics.
"There's talent to being able to tell people about a problem in a way that people can really understand on an emotional level," he said.