For Rights & Democracy and Kiah Morris:
Maggie Cawley, Rights & Democracy
email@example.com, (802) 683 8324
For the filmmakers:
Marianne Locas, La Ruelle Films
firstname.lastname@example.org, (438) 985 2236
(MONTPELIER) – Four years after being forced to resign from her seat as a Vermont State Representative, Kiah Morris returns to tell her story in the new record-breaking documentary Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age, soon to be released in the U.S.
Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age, the feature documentary that, in its French-language version, has already become a smash theatrical hit in Quebec, will have its first-ever U.S. screening at the Vermont State House on Tuesday, February 7 at 6:30 PM. The screening will be followed by a special panel with Kiah Morris, whose deeply harmful experience of misogynoir is told in Backlash; award-winning filmmaker Guylaine Maroist, co-director of Backlash; Vermont State Representative Taylor Small and Vermont’s first transgender woman to serve in the legislature, State of Vermont Director of Racial Equity and Inclusion, Xusana Davis. The Vermont screening will be followed by a U.S. tour.
“I’m thrilled that the people of Vermont are finally able to see Backlash. My story, as well as all of the others, needs to be heard in order for cyberviolence to end. Digital misogyny is a threat to women, and particularly women of color, everywhere. If we are going to build a just, equitable, and truly inclusive democracy in the US, we have to put a stop to this ”, says Kiah Morris, who now serves as Executive Director for the bistate grassroots organization Rights & Democracy.
Also known by its French title, Je vous salue salope, Backlash was directed by award-winning filmmakers Lea Clermont-Dion and Guylaine Maroist. The film, from Montreal’s La Ruelle Films, powerfully draws viewers into the vortex of online misogyny, probing the depths of hatred against women.
“This film is an essential response to the growing number of attacks against women in the digital space. Our goal is to give a voice to women who are victims of misogyny,” says Backlash co-director Guylaine Maroist. “Their stalkers use the Internet with one goal in mind: to silence them. Are we witnessing a complete reversal of women’s rights?”
Backlash has all the elements of a real-life horror movie, as four women on two continents tell their stories: Kiah Morris, VT’s Second African-American woman State Representative who resigned after severe online harassment; Laura Boldrini, the former President of Italy’s Chamber of Deputies and the most harassed politician in Italy; Marion Seclin, a Paris-based actor and YouTuber, who received over 40,000 sexist messages, including rape and death threats; and Laurence Gratton, an elementary school teacher in Montreal who was anonymously harassed for five years by a man who eventually was discovered to be one of her colleagues.
Film directors Clermont-Dion and Maroist also traveled to Silicon Valley to meet with Donna Zuckerberg, an expert on cyberviolence against women, and the sister of Facebook’s founder. In this, her first ever on-screen appearance, she says, “I’m surprised that there are people who have seen the extent and the severity of digital misogyny and that they aren’t more concerned and more horrified by it.”
In this shocking film, we witness in real time how the women were assailed by waves of hate, how fear crept into their private lives, and how they gradually lost their sense of security in public spaces.
“Cyberviolence against women is increasing exponentially across the globe”, adds co-director Lea Clermont-Dion. “Our film is intended as a call to action, a tool that, we hope, will prompt political and legal change to better protect women from these kinds of heinous attacks.”
Je vous salue salope was the #1 Box Office documentary film in Quebec in 2022 and is currently ranked #10 in the list of the highest-grossing documentaries in Quebec history. The documentary has made waves in Canada and abroad with featured debuts at film festivals, including the Human Rights Film Festival in Berlin—winning the Jury's special mention—, Rome International Film Festival (Alice Nella Città) in Italy, Festival international du film francophone in Namur, Belgium, Marché du Film at Festival de Cannes, Calgary International Film Festival and Vancouver's KDocsFF.
This special screening is co-hosted by the Vermont Network and the Vermont Commission on Women, in collaboration with Rights & Democracy, the Vermont Women’s Fund and Montreal-based La Ruelle Films, and supported in part by the Vermont Humanities. Please note that security will be increased considering the sensitive nature of the film.
This first showing marks the starting point of the Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age U.S. Tour. To book screenings in theaters, communities, citizen groups, educational institutions, community centers, and others, contact the team at email@example.com.
What: Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age screening, followed by a panel with Kiah Morris, Guylaine Maroist, Taylor Small and Xusana Davis.
Where: Vermont State House, 115 State St, Montpelier, VT
When: Tuesday, February 7, 2023, 6:30 PM
How: To attend the State House screening: www.vtnetwork.org/backlash-film-screening/