Today my new film, Dam premiered on NOWNESS.
Every February since 1907, St Moritz has hosted White Turf, an annual horse race on a frozen lake. In the same valley, there exists a school founded by Julie Hossman that teaches natural horsemanship, a technique which shuns what its practitioners describe as ‘unnecessary force’ and adopts the principles of ‘a kinder, gentler cowboy.’
I originally set out to make a film combining the aesthetic beauty of individual horses with the pounding viscerality of the races at White Turf. However, I discovered a much more arresting narrative in Julie and her relationship with horses. She brushes off any ideas about ‘horse whispering,’ telling us that it is not natural for a human being to sit upon a horse, but we might be allowed to do so if we behave as if we are horses, and enter into their world.
I named the film Dam, which in equine terms means ‘mother of the foal’.
Along with releasing Dam, we hope to raise awareness for CHAYN – a global volunteer network addressing gender-based violence with easily accessible online resources for those facing domestic abuse. They started in 2013 and have since reached more than 300,000 people and 1.2 million views across the world.
At a time where many film festivals are postponed or cancelled, I have reallocated $1,531 – the average sum Short of the Week estimates directors will spend on festival submissions – as a personal donation to CHAYN. I would like to encourage my friends and peers in the creative industries to reallocate the money they are no longer spending on creative projects to CHAYN also. Included below are some statistics to illustrate this urgency.
CHAYN saw 3× the typical number of visitors to our site & resources throughout March compared to the same time period last year.
We’re working hard to expand the resources we are providing in response – including launching a trauma resilience support group that we’re running via Telegram for those unable to access traditional support right now.
IN THE NEWS
The UK’s largest domestic abuse charity, Refuge, has reported a 700% increase in calls to its helpline in a single day, while a separate helpline for perpetrators of domestic abuse seeking help to change their behaviour received 25% more calls after the start of the Covid-19 lockdown.
WHO reported up to a 60% increase in calls to worldwide domestic abuse helplines.
CHAYN ON DAM
“When Samuel reached out wanting to use his latest work to raise money and awareness for CHAYN we were touched. On first watch, Dam brought an overwhelming sense of calm. Set in the most serene of snowy landscapes, seeing Dam’s subject work peacefully to create a mutual understanding with such impressive animals offered a beautiful escapism so desperately needed in these difficult times.
We’re incredibly grateful for his support, both for the donation he has gifted us and Samuel’s willingness to use his platform to highlight our work.”