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The Film Festival for Women's Rights
AND SO I STAYED is an award-winning documentary about survivors of abuse ﬁghting for their lives and spending years behind bars. These women paid a steep price with long prison sentences, lost time with loved ones, and painful memories. Formerly incarcerated survivor-advocate Kim Dadou Brown, who met her wife while incarcerated, is a driving force in the passage of New York’s Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act (DVSJA), a new law meant to prevent survivors from receiving harsh prison sentences for their acts of survival. Nikki Addimando, a mother of two young children, suffered the consequences when a judge didn’t follow the law’s guidelines. Tanisha Davis, a single mother who was ripped away from her son in 2013, is hopeful the new law is her way out of a harsh prison sentence.
Not long ago, we lost a life due to a murder committed by a partner in the dating relationship. The victim reported to the police several times and was under police protection. When the distrust for the legal system - that there is no use in reporting to the police - is proved to be correct, is it still fair to ask the victim why they didn't leave in the first place?
When there was no way other than to actively defend oneself against the perpetrator in a violent situation, and that caused the perpetrator to get hurt or die, is it fair to give a guilty verdict telling the victim that they deserve the verdict because they should be held accountable for their 'choice' of action, when they could have left the partner or fled the scene?
Before reaching a verdict, why aren't we questioning where the nation was, when the nation had promised its citizens the safety from violence?
Co-Director/Producer/Writer Natalie Pattillo is an award-winning filmmaker and multimedia journalist based in New York City. Her reporting bylines include the New York Times, MSNBC, VICE, Jezebel, New York Magazine, Al Jazeera America and Salon. She received a Master's degree from Columbia Journalism School in 2017. Before moving to New York in 2015, she freelanced for Marfa Public Radio and West Texas Public Radio. Because Natalie has experienced domestic violence in a past relationship, her mission to uplift survivors and their stories is a personal one. Natalie’s own experiences as a survivor, as well as the passing of her sister who was killed at the hands of an abusive boyfriend in 2010, helps her understand what position the survivors in the film might have been in when they were fighting for their lives.
Daniel A. Nelson
Co-Director/Producer/Director of Photography Daniel A. Nelson worked as a cinematographer and researcher on Oscar-nominated director David France's feature-length documentary THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON, which celebrates the lasting political legacy of trans icon Marsha P. Johnson and seeks to finally solve the mystery of her unexplained death, that premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and landed on Netflix. Daniel received his Master's degree from the Columbia Journalism School in documentary filmmaking in 2016. His thesis at Columbia was a short documentary called POSTURE about the controversial world of competitive yoga, which premiered at the 2017 Long Island International Film Expo and was published on Yoga Journal.