In December 2016, CASDA Board Member Sarah Mayne created a video to highlight the role of CASDA in our community and to help convey some of the real barriers encountered by victims and survivors in our midst. The video premiered at CASDA’s New Year’s Eve Gala, “Behind the Mask,” and is now posted here on our web site for anyone who would like to take a closer, behind-the-scenes look at CASDA’s programming.
CASDA was humbled by the extra time and effort that filmmaker Sarah contributed to complete this project, and we recently had the pleasure of interviewing her about the filming process.
CASDA: How long have you been on CASDA’s Board of Directors, Sarah?
Sarah: This is my third year on CASDA’s board.
CASDA: What drew you to serve on our board?
Sarah: Initially I wanted to be more involved in my community. Luann LaValley was on the board and is someone I look up to. She’s an incredible person to work with, a legend at Minnesota Power. I saw this as an opportunity to grow personally and professionally.
CASDA: Have you found that being a member of CASDA’s board has supported your personal and professional growth?
Sarah: Absolutely. This is a great board to make impactful work. It surprised me at how involved and “front line” this role can be, and I am all in!
CASDA: Tackling a video project can be quite time consuming, and we know you have a busy family and work life, too — not to mention your board and other community commitments. What motivated you to create this project for CASDA?
Sarah: I like to know that the work that I’m doing is making a difference. I know that I have the resources and ability to get a message out there and to help tell a story. What really motivated me is wanting to give a voice to CASDA and the survivors served, to give survivors a voice of dignity and justice that could also reach through any assumptions that people might make, and to give them the real story.
CASDA: Shooting the video may have given you, as a board member, a different or deeper look at CASDA’s operations. Were there any surprises for you?
Sarah: I don’t think there were any surprises, but there was confirmation that people working at CASDA are very dedicated, passionate and there for all the right reasons. The opportunity to interview a survivor was humbling. I came out even more convinced that I had to let the world know what had happened to her and in some way bring about some form of redemption. I also wanted to highlight the impact that CASDA has with healing and supportive services. Also, I saw how needed, necessary and closely intertwined CASDA is with our police force. The last interview I did was with Superior Police Chief Alexander and he was saying the same things as all of CASDA’s staff regarding the critical services that are needed. If CASDA weren’t there to fill that need in the community, the community would suffer greatly. I go back to a conversation about CASDA’s services not being mandated, but folks need to know that they are critical services even if a government entity is not mandating them.
CASDA: What was your biggest challenge in producing the video?
Sarah: Crafting a worthy film on a zero budget and still having it be the best it can be and serve CASDA.
CASDA: I understand you filmed a lot of material that didn’t make the final cut.
Sarah: We ended up just under the 12-minute mark but had enough footage for 40 to 45 minutes. We wanted to get the key message across. There might be an extended release in the future! There’s a community advocacy piece that didn’t make it into the final cut, but this is a large issue in the community that we all need to take accountability for. This video dealt more with the direct services provided to survivors but there’s a whole other conversation about educating the whole community to stand up against violence.
CASDA: What key messages do you hope viewers of the video will learn or take away from the experience?
Sarah: I hope they’ll be better informed and aware of services that CASDA provides and why it’s important that we support CASDA. It’s important not only to be against violence but also to be a community that lifts up our survivors and ensures they have the support and justice they deserve. I had to cut the video where it ended; how in the world does this happen?
CASDA: How did you choose the title “This Healing Place”?
Sarah: I chose it after all the interviews because it was a common theme people kept coming back to. A huge part that CASDA does for survivors is provide support so they can begin to heal. Amber (CASDA Sexual Assault Program Coordinator) said it well: CASDA is there to help navigate that journey of healing as it begins.
CASDA: What other comments would you like to add?
Sarah: I just hope that the video is seen by as many people as possible. I’m excited that it is up for consideration in the Midwest Independent Film Festival, female filmmaker category for shorts. I should find out this spring whether it is selected. The festival takes place in Chicago next December. I also want to give a final shout out to local law enforcement and CASDA staff.