Some of My Most Favourite People in the community is actress and director Joanne Vannicola. Joanne is an artist and an activist in our community, she is also an Emmy award winning actor who recently completed a second season on the show, Slasher. Currently she has a memoir being edited for publication, as well as a piece in the upcoming anthology Cuarenta Y Nueve, 49 artists for 49 victims – Orlando.

Joanne is also embarking on a new project, a short film, and when I heard of it, I knew I had to take a few minutes to talk to her about it. It’s a film for women, it’s a film for everyone, it’s a film about being sexually assaulted. Basically, it is an important short film.

What we know is “When Lucie, a young queer woman, is abducted and trapped, she does everything she can to escape and fight back. Knowing that the man who abducted her is a sexual predator, Lucie decides to take matters into her own hands. Justice is never simple, and revenge isn’t always sweet, but sometimes it just feels right.” We also have a trailer to view https://vimeo.com/124346309. Both are equally chilling and disturbing.

Let’s chat with Joanne.

We know a little about the film Joanne, but why don’t you tell us where the idea came from and what brought the project around?

There are a few answers to this question. In some ways, it was a creative way for me to let loose a little. Honestly, I am tired of systemic sexism and how women are treated, shamed and vilified when they step forward about sexual violence. There are so many cases in the courts where men, from high profile men in media, both in Canada and in the US (all around the world really), down to cases of domestic violence, assault on campuses and date rape where perpetrators get away with the crime of rape and sexual assault. I was tired of male leaders in positions of power bragging about “grabbing women by the P _ _ _ _” and the people still elected a U.S. President after news of his own sexual assaults on women. I’m sick of it. Women are put through horrible trials, being re-victimized on the courts stands, questions about their sexual histories or asked what they were wearing, or how much they were drinking, etc. I mean, in what other violent crime is it acceptable to grill the victim around what they were wearing or drinking? If someone breaks into your house and puts a gun to your head and steals your things- you wouldn’t be asked about what you were wearing- but you can break into a woman’s body, violate it or abuse it and it’s a whole different scenario. The system itself is deeply flawed, does not work. So…I made a short movie. It’s an outlet, a thriller, a release, a feminist fantasy even, of a queer woman escaping a horrible situation and seeking her own justice. The other part of this answer is that I wanted to make something that would be in one or two locations, with a couple of actors, that wouldn’t cost a fortune, and this is the story that came to me, so I wrote it.

The justice system is not kind to sexual assault survivors, do we agree on that?

Yes, we agree! Not only is it not kind to victims during sexual assault trials, but if you add on the layers and levels, how racism and homophobia also impacts sexual assault and how victims of violence are treated across the board- from the police force to the courts, to governmental legislative bodies and or the health care system- there are many ways in which survivors of violence are not getting justice, not getting needs met and actually being harmed by the system that is supposed to protect them/us. This is not new, and nothing seems to be change. In fact, it seems as if systemic, institutional violence is on the rise, and victims of sexual violence are just not being believed, supported, or treated with the dignity and respect that is deserved.

You are raising funds for this film?

Yes. I really need to raise the money to cover costs already incurred, but also to finish the film. There were equipment costs, lighting, food, rentals, sound. Now post and editing and funds that will be needed for submissions for festivals, etc. I have a Kickstarter campaign for the movie SNIP, and I only have a few weeks to raise the whole amount. If I can’t raise the full amount then we get nothing and all donations will be returned to the donors! So, I am hoping that people will get behind this little movie and support! We really need the help.

I assume you will be doing the short film circle?

Yes, once the score, colour correction and editing are complete, as well as the fundraiser, than we will be submitting the short into festivals.

Are women represented in movies the way they should be?

No. Not even close. The very feminine, stereotypical heterosexual women who are white, tend to be the women that dominate and get the jobs. That said, even the women who do fit that category have an incredibly difficult time finding material that isn’t sexist or characters that are not sexualized and objectified. It’s a long-standing problem within the industry and for non-binary people, lesbians, Trans, women of color- the opportunities dwindle, and we rarely do we see reflections of ourselves on screen or behind it for that matter. In fact, female directors are rarely recognized, supported, or given the same opportunities as men in the film industry. The stats are dismal. But, as artists we must continue to push the envelop, continue to push the boundaries and take risks so that we pave the way for other women, continue to challenge and name the problems that exist, and create material outside of the mainstream culture, write and director stories that we want to write and direct. We can’t do it though without support. And circle back to the fundraiser! 🙂

CLICK HERE to donate to the campaign!

You can learn more about Joanne on her website, or her company site It’s Not A Phase Productions

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Antoine has on numerous occasions that everything he does is "a love letter to the LGBTQ community". and he truly loves this community. A 29 years' media and marketing leader, Antoine is the publisher of theBUZZ, The Pink Pages Directory, PinkPlayMags, and a magazine for Durham Region families The Local Biz Magazine, and is the host of talk show "On the Couch". On his off time he is usually involved in community organizations and causes.