Two female filmmakers and songwriters, both from different walks of life who share one vision, of tackling the emotional subject of domestic violence and the many forms of abuse with their riveting film Indie Film The Right To Live. Michele Frantzeskos and Nancy Vasquez, address different types of abuse from physical to sexual abuse all the way through to verbal, mental, and emotional abuse. Whilst still drawing reference to drug & alcohol, postpartum depression and bullying.
Michele Frantzeskos is a Staten Island, New York woman. Due to her experience with mental, verbal and sexual abuse growing up, meant that she exhibited difficulties with understanding and accepting gestures that could be referred to as gestures of love. Ultimately making her question whether or not she was worthy of love. Much of those experiences left her with a deeply seated feeling of shame which she used as motivation to utilize creative avenues, raising awareness on the harsh realities of abuse in her society. Nancy Vazquez on the other hand was brought up in Newark, New Jersey with an abusive father who tormented her mother and his daughters in a horrific manner beyond what any child in their early stages should have to experience. But that would consequently fuse Vazquez desire to make a change in the world turning to the arts as a way to begin these initial steps to change.
Eventually, Vazquez and Frantzeskos meet on the set of an indie film. When these two women realized that they shared the same vision, they put together the heart-wrenching script for The Right To Live.
…Together through our eyes a relatable story unfolds within this film. Abuse comes in all different fashions. We were looking for someone to guide us getting our important film into theaters for the world to see. Spreading awareness while providing a solution to lead a productive life because we went through abuse ourselves.
– Vazquez and Frantzeskos
The dramatic feature film is an emotive narrative that viewers of all walks of life irrespective of age can connect to. National Statistics for Domestic Violence in the USA show that every 9 seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by an intimate partner. 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been severely abused, 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked with 21,000 calls, average 15 calls per minute. 15% being intimate partner violence of all violent crime. With the presence of gun in home during domestic violence.
In California the statistics show
32.9% of women and 27.3% men experience domestic violence
2007 there were 174,649 domestic violence calls, 40% involved weapons
Rape crisis center 31,790 sexual violence in 2011-2012
Single day domestic violence served 5,800 Women and children
Rape occurs every 56 minutes
December 31, 2015 Submitted 8,245 domestic violence misdemeanor convictions and ten domestic violence protective orders to the NICS index.
And in New York statistics show
284,660 domestic violence incidents in 2013
12.1% high school students physical or sexual violence by a significant other past year
Increased by 16% domestic violence homicides
2/3 of domestic violence committed with firearm
Whereas in the UK around 2.1m people suffer some form of domestic abuse each year 1.4 million being women Each year more than 100,000 people in the UK are at high and imminent risk of being murdered or seriously injured as a result of domestic abuse (read more here).
The Right To Live film focuses on 4 couples, 3 straight married couples and 1 gay couple. All of which find themselves in a group counseling session where they meet other people whose stories are told, steadily driving the audience to discern each couples origins of abuse, from both victim and abusers perspective. Allowing for deeper scope from an audience perspective.
Each couple in the session through this film wishes to break the repetitive cycle of abuse and find a level of equilibrium with the hope of ultimately establishing normality in life. Written & Directed by: Nancy Vazquez / Michele Frantzeskos. Produced & Edited by: Michele Frantzeskos/ Nancy Vazquez Executive Producer: Nick Frantzeskos and Producer: Frank M. Calo RayStar Film and Production Inc. put forth an anti-bullying campaign called “Project Wake Up”. The filmmakers have visited several schools in New York and New Jersey speaking to children about bullying.
The film has already received an award from Ed Romaine and Dan Paninco from the Town of Brookhaven in Suffolk County as well as receiving an award for the song called “Wake Up”, which they wrote in response to the many suicides of bullying victims in Staten Island, NY.
The film was nominated for and/or won the following awards:
Festivals Awards and Nomination
Hoboken International Film Fest
Nominated for Audience Choice Award
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Editor: Florence Bailey