The power of cine-activism: a quick review of the documentary ‘The Hunting Ground’

‘The Hunting Ground’ – a shocking documentary which hit hard to home being a fellow university student with its eerie and blunt depiction of the issue of sexual assault on college campuses in The United States. Directed by Kirby Dick and produced by Amy Ziering, the film aims to combat the invisible war taking place on masses of American campuses around the country.

In 2014, The Whitehouse released guidelines on how campus sexual assault cases should be handled. The Hunting Ground presents how a number of these American universities which are prominently under investigation by the Department of Education, mishandled their sexual assault and rape accusations.

The 103 minute documentary uses techniques such as face-to-face interviews and confronting graphics and imagery to frame the stories of both victims and perpetrators. A variety of male and female students speak to the camera recounting their personal stories of being assaulted on campus and afterward being denied of justice by their own university. Studies from the film suggest that 16-20% of women in America are sexually assaulted on campus therefore the film focuses on its core argument that universities are often failing to act when victims of sexual assault come forward seeking justice. Universities are downplaying their incidents of sexual assault and instead selling themselves as a brand with financial incentives.

Through the visual imagery and personal representations, the film meets its endeavour in adequately reflecting the dissonance currently encompassing the present conversation surrounding sexual assault and rape. The stories of those affected are delivered solemnly and honestly ensuing the film being a must watch in the industry of cine-activism.

The Hunting Ground was first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2015 and is now subsequently broadcasted on TV channel CNN. Watch the trailer here:

– CD

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