Saturday / 10a-12p / The Big Idea
Shame does something uniquely pernicious to us that we rarely look at or really try to understand. Photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally’s masterwork Upstate Girls focuses on the hard but loving lives of young women in hardscrabble Troy, New York, diving into this complex subject of shame on both a national and systemic level as well as a deeply personal perspective. “We have a bondage to the past, to the shame” says Kenneally who will speak on stage alongside one of her collaborators and subjects, Dana Schubart. Author and activist Brooke Axtell life’s story is extraordinary, which she has used to make huge inroads on the scourge of human trafficking. Forensic traumatologist Dr. Halleh Seddighzadeh works in Las Vegas where there is a ready built ecosystem of victimization, creating a remarkable challenge for her professional goal of helping people heal, which often involves first lifting the heavy burden of shame from what happened to them. Stanley Stellar is a photographer who chronicled the history of American gay rights from it’s shame-infused hidden hallways in the 60’s to a robust rights movement today.
Brooke Axtell is a human rights activist who works to help young women find their way to becoming leaders through her mission as the Founder and Director of She is Rising, a healing community for women and girls overcoming rape, abuse and sex-trafficking. She has spoken across the world including at the UN, the Grammy Awards and has been featured in the New York Times, Rolling Stone and Time Magazine as well.
Stanley Stellar has seen history unfold through his camera lens, focusing on the story of gay men, mostly in New York, over more than four decades. In that time, there has been an enormous shift in culture as these communities have emerged from the shadows and proudly into the streets, something that has been captured by Stellar. He is also the subject of the short documentary, Stanley Stellar: Here for This Reason, which tells his unique story and will be part of Show 5, Unburying Shame.
Eric Leven is an activist and filmmaker living in New York City. His career covers the spectrum of documentaries, reality television, celebrity content and branded video. His documentary, Truvada Revolution, won the 2016 GLAAD Award for Outstanding Journalism on a Multimedia Platform. He is currently Senior Producer of Digital Video for VICE Media.
Dana Marie Schubart hails from upstate New York and is a survivor of childhood trauma, domestic violence and family offense. She believes we cannot break these pernicious cycles and begin to heal without exposing the truths of our stories. Her life's work is focused on sharing her own story of resilience and perseverance, which she will contribute to the Unburying Shame show along with photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally who captured Schubart’s challenging and complicated life in her landmark book, Upstate Girls.
Brenda Ann Kenneally
Over the past thirty years, Pulitzer Prize Nominee Brenda Ann Kenneally’s immersive journalism has produced visceral portraits of poor and low-income children in America. As a part of Unburying Shame at OT, she will unpack the experience of her childhood in upstate New York and years spent reporting on the current generation of Upstate Girls, the title of her most recent book. She will speak to the power of art to create expanded family, recounting decades of living alongside her subjects. It was Kenneally’s need to share what she had learned that led her to form A Little Creative Class, Inc. The non-profit arts organization's mission is to address the social and economic obstacles that deter poor and low-income youth from participating in the emerging idea-based economy.
Washington - Moscow - Johannesburg - Rio - London - for the past two decades Keme Nzerem has reported around the globe for British network TV on issues from corruption, politics, and human rights - to sport. His focus is always on people, and how global events impact the lives of ordinary folk.
Stanley Stellar: Here for this Reason
Directed by: Eric Leven
Runtime: 15 minutes
The short documentary, Stanley Stellar: Here for This Reason delves into the story of Stanley Stellar, a singular character in the gay rights movement who chronicled its history over forty years with his camera. The film both explains how the world of gay men changed in New York but also what Stellar saw and captured along the way.