An intense and empowering movie about sexual assault will be just one highlight of one of Southern Nevada’s best film festivals
In the 15-minute film 10 Syllables (previously titled #NoMore), a young woman named Parker, sexually assaulted while unconscious at a frat party, is failed by the justice system. “She hears what a lot of victims hear,” says Reno-based director Emily Skyle. “‘Why did you wait so long to report it? We heard you took your own vodka to the party. What did you expect?’”
We learn this in a flashback during the opening scene, set at another party — at which she sees her assailant, reinstated by the college, taking an intoxicated woman upstairs, and feels she must intervene. “She makes an irrational, emotional decision,” Skyle says.
THE TURNING POINT
To rob her attacker of his “weapon,” she races upstairs and drags his mattress through the party and down into the street. Soon, she writes the date and details of her assault on the mattress, and sits beside it. Eventually, other women come by and pen their stories onto the mattress — and a movement (and hashtag, #NoMore) is born, as women around the country display mattresses detailing their sexual assaults.
In the film, as Parker’s movement grows, eventually some 300 mattresses are depicted. On them are 528 true stories of sexual assault submitted by real women responding to the fictional movement’s hashtag, #NoMore. Because #NoMore took on a life of its own, Skyle reverted back to her orignal title, 10 Syllables.
The new title, and the impetus for making the film, came from the infamous Brock Turner rape case, in which the victim was often referred to as the “unconscious, intoxicated woman” (the 10 syllables in question). Normally a maker of romantic comedies, Skyle — herself a survivor of a vicious assault —felt compelled to address the topic. Her takeaway from the experience: “It sounds slogany, but with one action, someone can take away your choice; but with one voice, you can start a movement.”
DAM SHORT FILM FESTIVAL
More than 100 short films, Boulder Theatre; schedule and ticket prices/packages: damshortfilm.org