In the past year, Filmmaker and Academy of Art University student, Tiye Rose Hood, has created and released two compelling films. “Objectified” focuses on street harassment, and the latest “Jenella” published in January, explores the blame culture and the issue of silence associated with sexual assault. The inspiration for all of Tiye’s documentaries comes from what she describes as a deep-rooted “interest in work that inspires understanding and social change,” as well as a passion for film and digital cinematography.
Produced in 2011, street harassment documentary “Objectified” debuted on Vimeo in June of last year and was nominated for Best Documentary in Academy of Art’s 2011 Epidemic Film Festival. Being nominated for the award was’ a wonderful feeling’ but Tiye admits that the driving force behind its production was not a quest for critical acclaim. Tiye was inspired by her own experiences of street harassment and the stories that others had shared with her:
“It is often quite irritating to hear honks, whistles, and obscenities when all you want to do is go home after a really long day at work or school, and that’s something we all agreed on. My roommates and I all ride the bus and walk, so we encounter our share of rude and unwanted attention. And pretty much all of the attention occurs (seemingly) without a catalyst.”
As a young woman that spends her life moving through public spaces, Tiye, recognizes the importance of the movement against street harassment:
“I think the movement against it is important, and that ultimately everyone should be able to feel safe and comfortable no matter what they happen to have on.”
With social injustice and the idea of sharing stories still fresh in Tiye’s mind she embarked upon “Jenella”, which originally began as an assignment for a documentary class. However, in the middle of the semester the focus shifted:
“I met Jenella through one of my roommates, who told me a little bit about what happened to her. I knew her story had to be told in some manner. Jenella is the strongest individual I have met to date.”
Originally, the documentary was intended to be about rape crisis counselors, featuring footage from last year’s high profile Slutwalks rather than “one women’s struggle.” But Tiye felt that Jenella’s story was one that had to be told and focused upon:
“I met Jenella through one of my roommates, who told me a little bit about what happened to her. After I met her and started to learn more about her, I knew her story had to be told in some manner. I also met Chimine Arfuso, a speaker, philanthropist, and the creator of Create Social Change. Chimine shared her experiences and the methods she used to cope with them. Jenella and Chimine are the strongest individuals I have met to date.”
The beauty of Tiye’s work is her recognition of the power of story telling, the idea that if we share our stories, we gather strength, momentum and knowledge to make a change and raise awareness. “Jenella” rejects the concept of sweeping incidents under the carpet and tackles the “blame culture” where survivors are questioned as to why they made decisions that could have possibly led to their attack.
Born in the Los Angeles area, Tiye grew up in Pasadena and Altadena and went to school in Pasadena. She loves to randomly bake and admits that she has “fallen deeply in love with the painstaking process of using lights, the sun, and a light meter to create and manipulate the visual aesthetics and get the desired results,” and looks forward to soon be working with 35mm film.
Tiye is inspired by several different directors, cinematographers and musicians including: Paul Thomas Anderson, Spike Jonze, Stanley Kubrick, Emmanuel Lubezki, Joanna Newsom, Bradford Cox. But high profile role models aside, the aspiring director is most motivated by her friends whom she describes as:
“Strong, fearless, passionate and very highly involved in equal rights movements.”
When asked about the future, the Best Documentary in Academy of Art’s 2011 nominee quite modestly reveals that she does not know. However, what she does know is that she really wants “to learn, enjoy life, enjoy the ups and downs of film-making and graduate!” And we at Hollaback! say good luck to you Tiye and keep driving social change and being generally awesome!