Project for Healing Voices – Personal Stories sheds light on domestic abuse
ESPAÑOLA, NM — “One in 7,” a film co-directed by David Lindblom, associate professor in Film and Digital Media Arts at Northern New Mexico College (NNMC) and JoAnne Tucker, co-founder of Healing Voices – Personal Stories, is an Official Selection for the Manhattan Film Festival (https://manhattanff.com/).
“It’s a significant film festival, and we are in the documentary category, rather than shorts. We think that means that it was appreciated on a higher level,” Lindblom said.
“One in 7” is the seventh in a series of films produced by Healing Voices – Personal Stories, a nonprofit dedicated to making films about domestic violence. Tucker conceived the idea toward the end of her 30-year career as Artistic Director/Choreographer of the Avodah Dance Ensemble, when she met women who had murdered their abusers while doing residencies in women’s prisons. Their stories haunted Tucker, so she joined with co-founders Lindarose Berkley, Lynette Montoya and Regina Ress to create Healing Voices.
None of the women had any film experience, so they went in search of a filmmaker. Lindblom stood out among the many people they interviewed.
“I really wanted a woman, essentially, but after meeting David, I knew he was the perfect person, mainly because David will let the person tell the story and let it evolve,” Tucker said. “A lot of the other people we were interviewing had their vision of how the story should be. I thought it was important to let whoever we were interviewing evolve the story.”
The first six films focused on women who had successfully moved out of abusive relationships and rebuilt their lives. The women came from various economic levels and ethnicities, and each had a different story to tell. “One in 7” is the first film focused on men who have suffered abuse, introducing viewers to an issue most people are unaware of.
“One in 7” focuses on three men living in The Family Place in Dallas, Texas, one of the rare shelters exclusive to men. When they decided to do a film about men, Lindblom and Tucker were not sure what they would discover.
“We had to wrap our heads around domestic abuse for men. What does that look like? Does it even exist?” Lindblom said. “And this is not at all trying to even the score or say, well, it happens to women, it happens to men, therefore we don’t have to think about it. It’s just human beings doing horrible things to one another.”
Women abusers are more likely to use a weapon, resulting in more severe injuries, so men often arrive at the shelter straight from the hospital. The men interviewed for this video were in the early stages of healing and had not yet moved on with their lives.
“This film is just opening the door. It doesn’t tell the full story. It just says, look, one in seven men experience abuse and it’s important to know that,” Tucker said. “It’s hard for them to talk about it. It’s hard for a man to admit. And the violence can often be much greater.”
One distinctive feature of “One in 7” is a score composed and performed by washboard percussionist Newman Taylor Baker, a classically trained percussionist who has been experimenting with integrating washboard into many 21st century musical genres. He creates a range of sounds using a multi-effect pedal. “One in 7” was his first venture into writing a film score.
Lindblom and Tucker had envisioned music for the beginning and end of the seven-minute film, but Taylor Baker was inspired to score the entire movie. He developed themes for each of the three men interviewed.
“I was struck by the different environments that each man created when he was speaking. They’re very unique to each one. Some of it’s the rhythm of how they spoke. It was also in their physical demeanor,” Taylor Baker said. “I wanted to be in the energy and the space and the mood of each individual. I wanted whatever I played to reflect their individuality.”
Taylor Baker also wanted a sense of constant motion, a pulse that moved through the film from beginning to end. He composed a driving rhythm that links the themes of the three men and unifies the short segments of the film.
Lindblom incorporated not only the musical score into the film but footage of Taylor Baker’s hands playing the washboard with shotgun shells taped to his fingers, a technique he learned from another washboard player. Lindblom believes the combination of the percussion and footage brings a tinge of danger and violence to the video. His students, who give input at various stages of each film’s development, agreed. “Especially for the guys, it resonated,” Lindblom said.
Tucker and Lindblom began involving NNMC students early in their collaboration, securing grants for internship stipends. Samantha Herrera, who earned her Associate of Art in Film & Digital Media Arts from NNMC and is now pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Studies/Self-Design, served as camera assistant, field producer and assistant editor.
“It was a great experience. I was able to put the knowledge and skills I’ve learned to the test. I’m a very hands-on type of learner and having that opportunity to work with other people in a professional environment in my field was great,” Herrera said.
“And it was covering a topic I thought was very intriguing. I took interest in the stories and the people we interviewed, because I feel it’s important that people’s stories are heard. And these men telling their stories are changing lives. I wanted to be that person who was a part of that, to help them get their voices out.”
TaiShanna Sanchez, who also has an Associate of Art in Film & Digital Media Arts from NNMC and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Studies/Self-Design, created a movie poster for the video, which will be on display at the Manhattan Film Festival. Sanchez also created Spanish subtitles for another Healing voices video titled "Cheyannes's Story." Working on these two films had a personal connection for Sanchez, whose great grandmother had escaped an abusive relationship.
“I’m glad that David gave me this opportunity not only to get paid but to learn new skills like how to do posters, how to do subtitles for videos,” Sanchez said. “While you are working on it, you’re experiencing what these people have to go through.”
“One in 7” screens at the Manhattan Film Festival at 3 p.m. EDT June 19 at Cinema Village, 22 E 12th St., New York, N.Y. Tickets may be purchased at https://manhattanff.com/view-screening/1567. There is no remote viewing option, but “One in 7” and other films in the Healing Voices – Personal Stories series can be viewed at hv-ps.org.