In the fallout of child abuse-centered documentaries such as “Finding Neverland” and “Surviving R. Kelly”, a Santa Monica-based production company wants to reach out and help locals who have experienced child abuse with a documentary of their own.
Rita Ciolek, filmmaker and founder of Kazia Productions, is currently in the beginning stages of creating “Child Not Released”, a documentary film examining the long-term consequences of child abuse. The film will examine where trauma begins, how it affects survivors and their futures via addictions and hopeful ways to overcome trauma.
The film is already deep in preproduction, with animation to be included and interviews with experts in the field. The filmmaker and her producer are currently in search of survivors stories for the documentary.
According to Ciolek’s research, the National Institute on Drug Abuse states that two-thirds of the people in treatment for drug abuse report being abused or neglected as children, a stat forming the crux of Ciolek’s film.
“Someone who has been abused or experienced trauma often don’t realize what they lived through had an impact on them and continues to do so,” Ciolek said. “They may be struggling with addiction, with relationships, they may want to know what’s going on. Step one is we want them to reflect, to get their own insight. That’s where the healing begins.”
Similar subject matter has been broached before in Ciolek’s work, whose filmography centers around self-empowerment and healing.
“The inspiration has always been personal,” Ciolek said. “Especially for this film. I’m a survivor of child abuse myself … when I was looking for information to help me, it wasn’t there, and the conversation today about it is limited.”
Ciolek says she reflected upon her own life, musing upon what abuse has done to her own psyche. She conducted her own research with her producer in tow and discussed possible healing options with noted experts in the field.
Her research helped her discover innovative and experimental approaches to helping survivors overcome trauma, different modalities of healing one’s self. Her film and findings, she hopes, will cause survivors to self-reflect, find a community, and help others empathize with survivors.
“With this film, I hope survivors can gain insight and knowledge to use for their own journey,” Ciolek said. “I hope this will help family and friends look past addiction and misconceptions of a survivor, to help them see past those and see the person, get curious about what made them this way.”
Producers are currently looking for collaborators and survivor stories in the local communities. Correspondence can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.