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Monday December 22 2014

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Program Description Page

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE and DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 2 debut on American television and WSIU-TV in a special two evening presentation on Tuesday, March 18 and Wednesday, March 19 beginning at 8:00 p.m. These powerful documentaries, about one of our most devastating social issues, were filmed in Tampa, Florida over a two month period by Emmy Award winning director Frederick Wiseman.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE focuses on abuse in the home from the point at which it boils over into crisis. The film begins with the police responding to DOMESTIC VIOLENCE calls from couples - sometimes in the middle of an argument that threatens to escalate, sometimes from victims who are already bloody and bruised.

The film then turns its attention to The Spring, the largest shelter in Tampa, serving about 1,650 adults and children annually. Here, Wiseman documents intake interviews, counseling sessions, group therapy, staff meetings, and conversations among clients and between clients and staff. Since two-thirds of the residents at the shelter are children, the film also follows school activities and therapy sessions for children who have experienced the trauma of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. Throughout, in a quietly gripping ballet between despair and hope, Wiseman's camera captures shocking stories of abuse -- all the more startling because of the matter-of-fact way in which the abused tell them -- and reveals the systems that exist to try to help victims reclaim their lives.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 2 picks up where DOMESTIC VIOLENCE leaves off, showing how the state's legal system deals with DOMESTIC VIOLENCE and documenting cases in the courts as they deal with such issues as bail, bonds, release pending trial, the specific context of injunctions, restraining orders, defining bounds for parental contact with children, support payments, and the courts' rulings on fault and punishment. Just as the interviews and counseling sessions in DOMESTIC VIOLENCE reveal astonishing stories of abuse and conflict, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 2's exchanges between judges, lawyers, and victims elicit riveting stories of couples' conflicts and the ensuing violence that led them to court.

Cases are heard in multiple settings: the arraignment, injunction, and misdemeanor courts. In the arraignment court the judge sentences offenders who plead guilty via closed circuit TV, and also makes decisions about releasing people on bond before they stand trial. In the injunction and misdemeanor courts, both men and women face DOMESTIC VIOLENCE charges. Viewers meet the two halves of a couple, each of whom has committed serial acts of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE against each other; he struck her, she tried to run him over. The film also introduces a pregnant woman who has been hit by her boyfriend, an act which automatically qualifies as a felony. In some cases the plaintiffs want to drop charges, but the judge will not allow it. On a number of other occasions, the prosecuting party simply doesn't show up and the case is dismissed.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE and DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 2 television presentations are produced by DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Film, Inc. and released by Zipporah Films, Inc. in association with Thirteen/WNET New York. Both films are directed, produced, and edited by Frederick Wiseman. Photography is by John Davey. Stephen Segaller is executive producer for Thirteen/WNET New York.

Funding for DOMESTIC VIOLENCE and DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 2 is provided by the Ford Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Public Broadcasting Service, The Irene Diamond Fund, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the Open Society Institute, The George Gund Foundation, and The Joyce Foundation.

WSIU Public Broadcasting, Carbondale, Illinois 62901-4306, 618-453-4343
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