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Postcards to the Edge

Breaking the imaginary 'fourth wall' and bringing an audience inside your film is one of the most difficult tasks of filmmaking. Audiences are inherently used to the passive action of watching a film. Yet, for social justice documentaries it is crucial to break down the barrier that separates a personal connection to the action in the story. So, how do you connect an audience with women behind prison walls? How do you turn the message of a film into activism?

One of the goals of our outreach tour was to create avenues for the Sin by Silence characters to engage with the audiences beyond the screen. Their stories are real. Their pain is real. They are real. We found one simple way to break down the imaginary and physical walls of the film and prison in order to connect inmates with people in the "free world"...by creating postcards.

GOAL:

To help the audience realize what they have witnessed onscreen is a tangible, ongoing struggle and engage them further in the cause.

STRATEGY:

  1. Create pre-addressed postcards for audience members to take home as a reminder to get involved in the issues of domestic violence.
  2. Provide audience members an tangible to the women of Sin by Silence and encourage them in their struggles while in prison.
  3. Encourage a pen-pal system that would help the women of Sin by Silence feel connected to the people that are inspired by their stories.

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OUTCOME:

The postcards became an immediate success! A series of 14,000 postcards in total, one for the group and one of each of the women featured in the film, had to be printed to meet demand while on tour. Many people took multiple cards - one as a keepsake and reminder, the other to send a note of encouragement. To date, each of the women have received 1000's of postcards from people all over the country encouraging them to not give up, thanking them for sharing their story, and confiding in them their own personal stories of abuse.

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