‘That’s Harassment’ Director Sigal Avin on The Most Relevant Films of 2017
In April of 2017, the That’s Harassment films were released in the US after a viral stint in Israel, and – surprise! – went viral again, this time stateside. Created out of Director Sigal Avin’s frustration with an industry that, instead of punishing its wrongdoers, was promoting them, the conversation surrounding the films hasn’t stopped since – if anything, the buzz is only getting louder. Each film’s story is based on true events – “The Actor”, “The Coworker”, “The Politician”, “The Photographer”, “The Boss”, and “The Doctor” – and since their release almost exactly a year ago, there’s been somewhat of a reckoning, with hundreds of sexual harassment allegations bubbling to the surface. It’s a laundry list of victims finding their voice and finally taking a stand; and for Avin, the connection between the films’ release and this apparent explosion of justice is clear.
“With this, I think it’s a bunch of things that kind of trickled down,” she says, referring to the cases of sexual harassment coming to the surface. “The person who was elected for president, and the things he was caught on tape saying – a lot of things all over the world were happening, and men were being accused of certain behaviors, but nothing was happening. And I think that those behaviors, and the films, kind of stirs something and then, in a moment – boom! It explodes. So as for the films, I have no doubt that they trickled in.”
In collaboration with actor David Schwimmer and Milk Studios’ own Mazdack Rassi, Avin brought the films over from Israel, where they were originally made, and recreated them for a US audience, subtracting one story about the Israeli military for two they found more relevant – “The Photographer” and “The Boss”. Originally, each film was around five minutes long – now, they’re being shortened into 30 second PSAs, and with the help of RAINN, the Ad Council, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media And Entertainment, and NWLC, will play in cabs all across New York City as well as streaming services like Amazon, Hulu, and Showtime. Basically, these PSAs will be everywhere.
Did you know that 1 in 4 women face sexual harassment in the workplace? Share this PSA to spread the word. #ThatsHarassment
Posted by That's Harassment on Thursday, January 25, 2018
“When the whole Harvey Weinstein thing exploded, [the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media And Entertainment] came back to us to see if we could cut the films down because they really wanted them,” she says. “It’s a clever thought I think, just to have the films be in there in the cabs, whether you want to see them or not.”
Avin has spent the last year on the receiving end of endless thank you cards and notes of gratitude – from women and men alike. With the realization that her story is much more common that she perhaps originally thought, Avin knew spreading the message even further was necessary.
“I almost want to cry just because of the thought that it really did help the change, and that young women can see this and say, ‘Oh, I didn’t realize that was wrong until I saw that.’ This is beyond anything I imagined would happen…I’m in awe.”
If you haven’t seen the That’s Harassment films yet, do yourself a favor and watch them here. And if you’re in NYC, catch one in a cab, starting today.
Featured image courtesy of Gabrielle Baharlia
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