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Bloodshed unashamedly addresses the issue of menstruation.
In particular, it identifies the gap between what we are led to expect about menstruation and the reality of the actual menstrual experience.
Our research showed the gap is there, even in 2021. Worse still, more than 78% of respondents* felt they had not been equipped to deal with the reality of their periods. Phrases such as 'the curse', ’on the rag’ or ‘the red river’ are still being used to describe a period. All of this suggests a low level of understanding of menstruation issues.
This is where Bloodshed steps in.
*Our statistics come from a first-hand survey completed by 252 people.
The inspiration for this project is rooted in the deeply personal accounts of the silent suffering that we, or those close to us, have had to endure. We have grown up being out of touch with our bodies. That is, until something goes wrong. So, what happens when the education we have been given does not leave us equipped to understand our own bodies? Well, as described in a woman’s testimony:
“I had no clue what was happening. I was too afraid to ask questions, even to my mum. I guess I just had to learn from experience. This has impacted me badly as I thought I wasn't normal, and I didn’t know who to talk to.”
After gathering this, along with a multitude of other testimonies, it became clear that the weight of these stories shouldn’t be just ours to hold. The responsibility of dealing with these issues young and alone isn’t something we want to pass on to younger girls.
Let’s set this straight.
To shed light on the gap between what women are taught versus their actual menstrual experience, this film is composed of two parts.
First, the film creates a space where women can talk, allowing them to address what has previously been silenced. Testimonial interview is therefore a key part of Bloodshed. This fundamental strategy gives value to the contributors’ first-hand stories.
Secondly, in order to illustrate some of the stories, the film interposes fictional sequences. Inspired by contributor testimony and prior research in menstrual education, these scenes aim to present the reality of women’s menstrual experiences – might not sound lovely, but we are committed to keeping it real.
REFERENCES for FICTIONAL SEQUENCES
REFERENCES for TESTIMONIES
By pledging to our project you are directly supporting the realisation of this film and helping create change. And we don't take your thoughtful donations for granted! Any resources that will not get used for the film, will be funded back to charities.
Every penny helps, but donating isn't the only way you can support our team on their journey. Sharing the project with others, either on social media, or over a cup of tea, is a great way to get more people involved and interested.
Eva’s love of film has quickly evolved into an interest in the possibilities of film to capture and portray real moments of real people. Not surprisingly then, she is now a documentary film-maker in the making. Her work is characterised by a devotion to the authentic in story-telling and tackling subjects that matter to real people. This film is inspired by the negative attitudes Eva has discerned towards women’s fertility and health rights, particularly in Northern Ireland. She feels that this is an important film to make. Her dedication to making sure all voices are heard is her signature in documentary work and makes her a focused and passionate director.
“If documenting the authentic encourages a change, so much the better.”
“The ability to collaborate with such talented and compassionate people is a huge highlight for me, alongside getting these stories that need to be heard, onto the big screen.”
Naomi has been part of this project since it began - developing the documentary with Eva for the past ten months, which has been an emotional, but insanely rewarding journey. Putting extensive time into research, digging into her past, the flaws and missing life lessons concerning the female reproductive system and the life events that surround them have become clear as day. Over the last three and a half years at Bournemouth Film School she has taken a broad range of roles on a variety of productions, Bloodshed being her third documentary to produce, and it is the biggest one yet!
Coming from abroad, Ana Marija has been able to offer a different perspective on the subject of this documentary and broaden the scope of knowledge, or better lack off, that young people face beyond Britain’s boarders. Always having an urge to learn new things and pick up new skills, the world of documentary filmmaking has embraced her, but also presented with responsibility to transfer important stories from life to screen with care and respect. This being the first bigger documentary project on her portfolio, will be a challenge and an opportunity to learn, grow and connect. She can’t imagine a better project to commence her documentary journey, than this bloody and crucial piece.
“One of the most fascinating things about documentary to me, is its capacity to connect. And there is no doubt, Bloodshed will excel in that regard.”
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
"I feel passionately that cinematographers shouldn’t be defined by their gender but by the way they visually interpret the directors visions."
Liv is deeply curious about filmmaking and photography. She has been drawn towards cinematography, embracing it as the visual language of filmmaking. She has worked with a wide range of film formats and through experimentation and work experience has developed her own style of cinematography, with a strong focus on framing and composition. Liv feels that immersive storytelling is fundamental to audience engagement and seeks ways to capture the narrative effectively through the camera lens. As the director of photography for this documentary, she feels a responsibility to shoot it in a compelling manner, visually amplifying the important emotionally message it contains.
Lindsay is the production designer for the documentary Bloodshed. The meaning of Bloodshed is incredibly important to her, as it will be for most people. Throughout her life she has been constantly surrounded by women, having only had sisters and aunts. Because of this she never feared conversation or asking questions around the topic of reproductive health and tough experiences born from lack of eduction and misconceptions. It’s given her insight into the topic of menstrual health that many others don’t have. But she tries to make sure everyone is able to have open conversations around the topic.
“I am excited to be able to contribute to this conversation through the visual style of Bloodshed, and to represent the contributors in an empowering light.”
Joe is in charge of Bloodshed’s sound. Getting the crispest recordings of our interviews and creating an engaging, professional sound mix. His first love came with photography, shooting macro shots of bees and flies in his spare time. But recently, Joe’s university life has revolved around music and most importantly his cassette tapes, that he like to listen in his car, on a daily commute to Lidl.
“The sound in Bloodshed will be vital in conveying the emotion and humour present in the film and will help envelop the audience into the documentary. Immersing them in the story Eva will shape.”
So Joe will stop at nothing to make sure Bloodshed is heard exactly as it should be and that the team’s passion for the story is transferred into the mix.
Our lead in the editing is Jasper. He’s been fascinated in the process of making films ever since his dad gave him a camcorder at the age of nine. His talents have ranged from working as an actor, director and camera operator throughout the years. More recently he’s channelled his focus onto becoming the greatest editor to come out of Arts University Bournemouth.
“One of the stand-out reasons why I’m so drawn to the development of documentaries is because I love exploring and learning about the subject matter.”
Over the course of Jasper’s university experience he has worked on two documentaries. He’s delved into the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and studied the harsh rejection of the football industry. But now he’s truly venturing into the unknown with this latest project: Bloodshed.
If you have any reproductive concerns, queries or problems, here are some UK-based resources available for you to use:
Illustrations by Katrīna Sadovņikova.