Believe Her

New York City, New York | Film Short

Drama

Erin L Doyle

2 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $20,515 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

206 supporters | followers

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Many rape victims face a secondary trauma when they report the crime. This can cause more damage than the assault itself. Believe Her, starring Allison Tolman, is a 10 minute short film built from true survivor experiences that seeks to give a voice to the countless victims who suffer in silence.

About The Project

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Mission Statement

Our film's mission is to create empathy for sexual assault survivors, and our message is simple: Believe Her. We are integrating this mantra into every step of production. From our pitch video to the final color correct, everybody on our crew is female.

The Story

Believe Her is a 10 minute narrative short film that explores why we are inclined not to believe victims of sexual assault.  The story, built from true experiences from sexual assault survivors, is told from the POV of Monica, a rape victim, from the time she is assaulted through her decision not to file a report. As she's interviewed by the police, we'll see, though a series of flashbacks, that Monica was violently raped at the end of a first date. But as she's questioned, seeds of doubt are sewn: she was wearing something sexy, she'd had a lot to drink, she has a reputation for sleeping around. And as she processes the assault, details are fuzzy. While good intentioned, the cops, her brother, even her best friend call her story into question, forcing her to decide not to prosecute, and instead, internalize her trauma and suffer in secrecy.

 

Film has the power to shape opinions, create empathy, and inspire action.  Believe Her seeks to do by so giving a voice to the countless victims who have been mistreated by our justice system and the people they love most. We hope that by sharing one specific story in great detail, we can create a universality that many people can relate to. 

 

Believe Her is a film born from the Director's passion for activism and creating positive portrayals of women in the media. Everybody working on the film is passionate about the topic, and many are surviors themselves. This project is an extreme labor of love, born from extensive research and interviews with surviors and counselors who work with them. 

 

The subject matter for this film is difficult, and we will not shy away from it on screen. That said, this is a piece that aims to give women a voice, not objectify them, or glorify violence. We will present the facts in a clinical manner, with stylizied cinematography inspired by The Night Of and The Handmaid's Tale. Teal, the color of sexual assault awareness, will play an important role in production design and feature promenently in the aftermath of the assault; from the victim's clothing to the couch she sits on as she processes the immediate aftermath of what happened to her. We are shooting a mix of single and two-camera on an Alexa Amira, with a combination of handheld and slow tracking shots.

 

While this campaign is specifically for the film, it is the first step in a larger art project. We've already collaborated with feminist artist Amber Vittoria on a piece inspired by the film. The signed original will appear in the film and be given as an incentive to the first large donor, and the art appears on lapel pins available as a more universal incentive. 

 

 

Our entire crew is female, and diversity is a priority as we fill out our cast. This film will do more than represent women: it is made by and for women and those who respect them. 

 

We have funding coming from other sources, including a significant investment from the Director. If we raise money beyond our goal, it will be put directly into the production. Here's what we can do if we hit our stretch goals: 

 

$30,000: All crew and talent are paid for

 

$40,000: Post production is covered

 

$50,000: All miscellaneous production costs have been taken care of, including cast and crew travel, wardrobe, props, craft services, and production design

 

$60,000: In addition to funding our film, you're helping to cover legal fees, payroll taxes, and all the unglamourous costs that go into making a film

 

$70,000+: The director gets paid, and unforseen production expenses are covered.  Anything leftover will be invested into festival submissions, securing distribution, and rewarding the many people who are donating their time, or working below their usual rate because they're passionate about the project. 

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Wishlist

Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Crew

Costs $10,000

Pay the awesome ladies who are bringing this film to life!

Equipment

Costs $5,000

2 Alexa Amira cameras, Cooke lenses, track, and lighting equipment.

Location Rental

Costs $3,000

A 2-3 bedroom loft in NYC. Monica lives in a 1br, but we need 2-3 BRs for HMU and dressing rooms.

Talent

Costs $2,000

A film is nothing without its talent. Help us pay our amazing SAG actors.

About This Team

Erin Doyle Cooper

Writer, Director, EP

Erin Doyle Cooper is a writer, director, and creative director who is passionate about telling stories and creating opportunities for women and people of color. She has created award winning work for some of the world's biggest brands, including Budweiser, Johnson & Johnson, MasterCard, and Pepsi. She began her career as an actress, having studied classical acting the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA), and improv and sketch comedy at the UCB. She holds a BFA from the University at Buffalo. Her instincts as a writer and director are informed by her classical training, and rooted in a profound respect for the actor and the text. She currently resides in Brooklyn with her husband Will Cooper and their travel-sized Norwich Terrier, Mimsy. 

 

Idil Sukan

Director of Photography

Idil Sukan is a cinematographer, photographer and creative director based in London.

Most recently she has worked in the art departments of Julian Fellowes’ feature adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Crooked House and the Amazon/Channel 4 adaptation of Philip K Dick’s short stories, Electric Dreams, created photographic work for London’s West End and videographic work for the National Poetry Society. 

Her retrospective exhibition of her photographic portraiture of comedians in 2015 gained rave reviews and her work has been acquisitioned by The National Portrait Gallery in the UK. She has worked with Disney, Universal, Sony, Penguin Random House and many more.

Her passions lie in empathetic visual story-telling and the representation of women in the media. 

“The Sukan style is distinctive, gorgeously lit, intimately composed and atmospheric” - The Independent newspaper, UK. 

She is a prolific speaker and teacher in improvisation, feminism and creative direction and has herself studied at the London Film Academy & the London College of Printing (now Communication).  

 

Sarah Wolff

Producer

Sarah Wolff picked up her first camera at age 11 and hasn't been able to put it down since. Seeing an idea take shape and executing it to the highest quality is what drives her.  Sarah spent the first few years out of college running her own production company, Peace Belt Productions,  which specialized in managing bands, touring, and producing music videos.  She owned a non-profit theater company and produced an Off Broadway Play, The Love Letter You’ve Been Meaning to Write New York.  Sarah helped build a production company for Vaynermedia, and produced over thirty television commericals while there. Now she is an Executive Producer at 247 Laundry Service and Cycle Media, where she oversees the execution of authentic story telling.   Her love of music, culture, and making awesome content is what drives her every day!

When she's not producing amazing art you can find her taking photos of her awesome rescue dog, Ella Fitzgerald, seeing live music, and hunting for rare vinyl. 

 

 

Allison Tolman

Lead, Monica 

Allison Tolman was discovered in Chicago and cast as a series regular on the first season of the hit FX crime dramedy Fargo. She starred as “Molly Solverson,” the folksy and intelligent police officer on the trail of the sinister “Lorne Malvo” played by Billy Bob Thornton. For her work on the show, she won the 2014 Critics’ Choice Award and she was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe for best supporting Actress in a Movie or Mini-series.

 

Tolman played the lead role in the abc single-camera series Downward Dog, which premiered at Sundance; the only half-hour series to ever premiere at the film festival. Other TV credits include HBO’s Hello Ladies, recurring roles on FOX’s The Mindy Project; Amazon’s Mad Dogs; and FX's Archer.  She is upcoming on the Hulu series Castle Rock based on the stories of Steven King, also in a recurring role.

 

She is upcoming in the features Sisters Brothers, with John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix and Killing Gunther, with Taran Killam and Arnold Schwarzenegger; and the indie dramedy FAM-I-LY (with Taylor Schilling).  Other feature credits include The House (with Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell); Fresno starring Natasha Lyonne, Judy Greer and Fred Armisen; Krampus with Toni Collette, Adam Scott; and The Gift with Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall and Joel Edgerton. 

 

Ryan Patrick Welsh

Actor, Matt

 

 Keisha Zollar

Actor, Sara

 

Alexis Suarez

Actor, Male Cop

 

Hilary Walker

Actor, Female Cop

 

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