We are thrilled to announce that “The Invisible War” has won the Audience Award in the Documentary Competition at this year’s Sundance Film Festival! It has been an exhilarating week! We’re blown away by the positive responses to the film, and your commitment to taking action with us, to make a difference in the lives of thousands of military sexual assault survivors.
We couldn’t have done it without the incredible support of our Executive Producers, Geralyn Dreyfous, Maria Cuomo Cole, Regina Kulik Scully, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Abigail Disney, and Nicole Boxer-Keegan. We give special thanks to Mary J. Blige, who joined us for the premiere and will be writing an original song for the film.
Buzz for the film began building even before our Sundance launch, when on Wednesday January 18, “The Invisible War” was featured on NBC’s nightly news with Brian Williams. Featured in this piece was Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta’s press conference announcing (in anticipation of our film’s release) that the military would make every attempt to improve it’s responsiveness on issues of sexual assault. We plan to hold Panetta accountable to his vows, via our advocacy campaing to alleviate the suffering of hundreds of thousands of assault survivors who do receive neither justice or adequate care.
On Friday, January 20th, the day of the premiere, anticipation was high. Survivors flew in from all over the country to join us in Park City, Utah. We were honored to have service members Kori Cioca
and several others join us with their partners and families for premiere weekend to see the film and answer audience questions.
Immediately after the screening ended, the impact was clear. There was a standing ovation and outpouring of emotion. One audience member was so moved, he offered to anonymously pay for the surgery that Kori Cioca so desperately needs, as a result of her rape and lack of responsiveness from the VA. Supporters in the audience included Senator Barbara Boxer, Brigadier General Loree Sutton, Representative Jackie Speier and Representative Michael Turner. Following the premiere, we convened at an after party that included an intimate conversation with Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Siebel Newsom about the importance of challenging the epidemic of sexual violence in our military.
On Sunday 1/22, survivors, advocates, and filmmakers came together for a community speak out. Survivors dialogued with members of the local anti-violence advocate community, members of the Utah VA, and we hosted a virtual conversation about MST on twitter using the hashtag #Notinvisible. Tweets and photographs are compiled here on Storify
In the week following the premiere, the buzz was unstoppable and positive reviews and support poured in. From The Daily Beast to Reuters, to The Associated Press to The L.A. Times
, the message about “The Invisible War” and the epidemic of military sexual assault it uncovers were felt far and wide across America thanks to the attention of the mainstream media
Our outreach team also took to the internet to help spread the word, joining the Women’s Media Center for a virtual discussion about Military Sexual Assault with over 16,000 participants.
The actions we wanted to ignite are starting to occur! In just over a week, we have over 2,000 signatures directed at the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, and the Veterans Affairs Committees to take direct and immediate action to take the reporting of rapes outside of the chain of the command, and make getting disability benefits for military sexual assault survivors much easier.
Will you join us in sending a clear message to Capitol Hill?
Sign up to host a screening in your community: firstname.lastname@example.org
if people see this movie, this issue will no longer remain invisible.
Thanks for your support,
Outreach Campaign Director