Cleveland International Film Festival } March 25 – April 5, 2020 } Tower City Cinemas

Traveling into the dark and brilliant world of a wounded child

March 30, 2019   |   posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers


One in four girls, and one in six boys. That, according to the CDC, is the number of children who will be sexually assaulted before reaching adulthood. It’s a sobering statistic, one that has been brought into sharp and painful focus in the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. Even before the hashtags began to proliferate, director Emily Kassie had found her own focus: the titular subject of her documentary, “A Girl Named C.”

An investigative journalist, Kassie has used film to tell hard stories before. Her Academy Award-winning short, “I Married My Family’s Killer,” took audiences into the aftermath of Rwanda’s devastating 1994 genocide, and the fraught reconciliations between survivors on both sides of the machetes. This time, her story came to her.

Assaulted at the age of 11, “C” began to use art and film to work her way through her trauma. She and her family struggled to piece their lives back together, moving across the country in the process, and began reaching out to other survivors and experts. In the process, they connected with Kassie.

“When C and her family came to me with what happened to them,” she recalls, “I couldn’t shake the sense that this was a story I needed to tell.”

A rape survivor herself, Kassie recognized not only a kindred spirit, but one whose artistry would help others relate to her as well. “I saw myself and the stories of my peers through C,” she explains, “and believed her perspective could elevate the conversation and give an audience real insight into what it means to go on living after an assault.”

She decided to focus less on the assault itself than on the aftermath, the personal impact on C’s psyche. “This film isn’t about proving something happened,” Kassie points out. “This isn’t about holding a particular assailant responsible.” Instead, it’s a journey into the mind of a child whose life has been derailed, as she and her family find their way back to new wholeness.

One powerful way that Kassie takes us into C’s mind is through her artwork. “We shoot the film from C’s perspective and through her art because it offers a different take on what it means to be a survivor,” she says. She teamed up with Mary Nittolo, the creative director of The STUDIO NYC, to transform C’s drawings and artistic style into vivid animated sequences that help viewers connect with her deepest thoughts and feelings. “This was an opportunity to enter into the body and mind of a survivor. To actually share the doubts, the fear, the disbelief.”

The film had moved into the post-production phase when #MeToo took over social media. With the statistics suddenly feeling more human and immediate than ever to people, Kassie knew that C’s story was more vital than ever. C has invited us into her world, and her mind, to see her wounds and how they begin to heal, and maybe to see ourselves in her. Above all, “this film is about empathy,” Kassie says, “and the common experience of loss that we’ve all felt in our childhoods, men and women alike.”

–Lara Klaber

PDF  Download Related PDF [1.2 MB]

Related Screenings:
03/30/19 @ 4:00 PM – A Girl Named C
03/31/19 @ 2:40 PM – A Girl Named C

Permalink  [Permalink]

CIFF Tweets

Do you have the #film chops to help us select shorts for #CIFF44?

about 10 hours ago   .   Reply   .   Retweet   .   Favorite

CIFF Facebook Posts

Celebrate Cleveland, football, AND film? Don't mind if we do. Join the Hingetown Browns Backers on Sunday, December 1 at Jukebox for a Fan Appreciation Party that benefits CIFF! See event details and we'll see you there!

about 10 hours ago   .   Link

CIFF on Instagram

Follow us @clefilmfest

Instead of carrying around a wrapped Blu-ray of Love Actually as your emergency gift, stock up on #CIFF44 gift certificates. You can get them in any amount you want, and they can be used on most anything #CIFF. Best of all: they never expire. So, stock up! Link in @clefilmfest bio.

Posted by clefilmfest at 7:00 PM

Questions? >


Check out our FAQs for answers to common questions about entering the film festival.

Become A CIFF Member >

Become A CIFF Member

We have seven different levels of membership to choose from, so find the one that best fits your film appetite!

Sign up for our email newsletter

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram
  • youtube
  • flickr
  • alexa
  • foursquare