the ripple effectMarch 9, 2011
The undeniable gift of A Lot Like You is its power to ignite dialogue and inspire deep introspection. This film invites us all to reflect on the complexity of loving people through pain, secrets and differences.
Over the past 8 years, we discovered a surprising paradox—the more personal, honest and vulnerable we got in our storytelling, the more universal our story became. The themes and issues that surface throughout our film (sexual violence, child abuse, intergenerational trauma, mixed race/multicultural identities, female genital cutting, first generation American experiences, etc…)–these are just the particulars of my own personal journey. But ALLY is about exploring who we are and how we decide what to pass on to the next generation.
This film is calling out the truth in all of us. Believe me, that is not a humble brag. It would be if this had been my intention all along. But when this film pulled the truth out of me, I was kicking and screaming.
And yet truth that is never spoken can never be known and will never lead to change. People connect through story…it’s in our nature. And what I’m finding is that truth begets truth. It’s a ripple effect. And it’s contagious. It happened to each of us as we were working on this film. And it’s happening now as we move the film out into the world.
After every screening, audience members feel compelled to engage in dialogue, considering the themes of identity, history, contradiction, and migration that we raise in this film. Our discussions often explore the impact of unspoken trauma on the ongoing cycles of trauma—how it shapes generations—and what it means to be in relationship with family and culture who have engaged in, or been complicit in, that trauma.
People from all walks of life write me weeks after a screening, still considering these questions of cultural inheritance and legacy, and how they apply to their own life.
It’s amazing to see how lives are being transformed by this small ripple that was set in motion 8 years ago when my Aunts chose to share their truth with me in a hut halfway around the world…
(This article is derivative of conversations with Vassilisa Johri, Elaine Summers, Eric Frith, and Pete Droge. Many thanks for sharing your insight on our film…)