By Jayleigh Lewis
Screenings of the Red Tent movie, Things We Don’t Talk About, continued throughout September and October 2013, showcasing the variety of ways women have created space for the spirit and vision of the movie to grow and weave itself into their lives. Isadora, the filmmaker, attended many of these screenings, where she witnessed and participated in profound moments as well as moments of celebration and inspiration.
The Red Tent movie is rich in personal stories, both those that were featured on-screen and those that arose from the making of the film. In the course of recent screenings, some of those stories were shared and expanded upon. On September 14th, Lushanya, who appears in the film, hosted a screening at the Community Church of Hope in Phoenix, Arizona. During a post-screening Red Tent talking circle, the women sat in age order (ranging from 18 to 80) while Lushanya shared a follow-up to her story from the film.
Speaking about being raped at age 7 was difficult for her, but she chose to make her story public for the movie. After she was interviewed by Isadora, she realized she still had healing work to do. She decided to return to her hometown in northern California, to the house where the rape had occurred. She carried pink roses and a letter she had written about her experience. When she got to the house, she saw that there were children living there. She left the roses and her letter on the doorstep, with the intention of healing any negative energy that remained. The next day, she came back and saw the roses on display in a window. Lushanya’s healing intention had been accepted; participating in the Red Tent movie had set into motion her courageous act.
A personal story came full circle for Isadora at the September 27th screening in Madison, Wisconsin. In March 2009, she was walking an indoor labyrinth with a friend inside the First United Methodist Church in Madison. A confessional stood next to the labyrinth, and Isadora entered. There, she confessed to the universe that she needed an idea for her next film, was feeling the pressure from her Ph.D. committee, and had no clue what to do. She completely surrendered to the universe in that moment, trusting that the idea would come. The next morning, she got an email from ALisa Starkweather, asking if she’d like to do a PR video for the Red Tent. Then and there, the first seeds of what would become the Red Tent movie were planted. Isadora told this story at September’s screening in that same church, acknowledging the grace that allowed her to return with the finished film to the very place where it all started.
Complementing these momentous journeys and transformations were times of great fun and celebration. On a very hot September 13th in Riverside, California, a far western suburb of Los Angeles, in the desert, a Red Tent movie screening was held in a small belly dance studio called the Body Temple. Kathie, a midwife and doula who hosts Red Tents, invited women from two separate Red Tent communities to come together; the screening was packed. Underneath a giant red parachute which served as the Red Tent’s roof for the evening, women drummed passionately post-screening, and participated in tribal dancing led by the studio’s owner.
On September 15th, the Red Tent movie celebrated its first birthday at a screening in New River, Arizona. A small party was held inside the venue, the Peaceful Spirit Enrichment Center, complete with balloons and women posing for photos!
Lunapads, a producer of woman-friendly reusable menstrual pads and an early endorser of the movie, hosted the second-ever screening to take place in Canada in its Vancouver headquarters on September 22nd. Owners Madeleine and Suzanne teamed up with author, shamanic practitioner, and “menstrual priestess” Nikiah Seeds to put the event together. Nikiah led the Red Tent gathering after the movie, inside a womb-like space with a unique feature: thousands of cloth maxi pads decorating the walls! Also in attendance was Jasmin Starrchild, founder of the Red Moon Medicine Movement, longtime host of Red Tents in Canada and the Pacific Northwest, and one of the women who appears in the Red Tent movie.
As it is screened in more and more locations, the film’s visibility and reach grows. On October 16th it was shown at the New York City Independent Film Festival, and on October 24th and 25th it premiered in Israel. Zohar, who runs a Red Tent in Tel Aviv, hosted the dual screenings, which sold out with 120 women present each night. For the occasion, the film was shown with Hebrew subtitles; it was the first screening to feature them.
The breadth and depth of the ways women come together continues to be reflected in the diversity of Red Tent movie screenings around the world; may the creative, transformative power of the film continue!