‘The Hunting Ground’ comes to Ragtag

This new documentary critiques the handling of sexual assaults on college campuses in an completely unflinching manner.

On April 30, Jameis Winston will patiently wait among family to hear which professional football team has selected him in the NFL draft.

That same day, the University of Kentucky and Mount San Jacinto College, among other schools, will be telling the story of Erika Kinsman, the former Florida State student who accused FSU quarterback Winston of rape in 2012.

Kinsman is just one subject of the scathing new documentary “The Hunting Ground.” Oscar-nominated director Kirby Dick constructs her story along with those of many other college-age women who have experienced sexual violence while in school.

Ragtag Cinema is bringing this film to the Missouri Theatre on April 9 with help from True/False Film Festival, the new Murray Center for Documentary Journalism and the Based on a True Story symposium. This film comes at an opportune time because April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the Columbia Police Department closed its investigation of the alleged sexual assault of former Missouri swimmer Sasha Menu Courey in March.

Paul Sturtz, one of the “co-conspirators” of True/False, says his team saw the film at Sundance and immediately grasped its relevance.

“I think it really brings to light a crisis in this country having to do with safety for women on campus,” he says. “The film exposes a pattern of universities clamping down information about these sexual assaults. This film basically felt like a wake up call.”

The film forces audiences to address the horrific statistics about rape on college campuses and the lack of resources and support for victims, Sturtz says.

According to the film, 20 percent of women in college will be sexually assaulted. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center says that 63 percent of rapes and sexual assaults are not even reported.

The movie captures the struggles that many sexual assault victims face through an unwavering scope. Victim blaming, discouraging students from reporting to the police and the disturbing prevalence of undisciplined serial offenders are some of the issues covered.

Also, in a True/False nature, the audience will Skype with director Kirby Dick and Colleen Coble, the director of the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

“The issue itself requires a community-wide forum,” Sturtz says. “I don’t think you can bring in a film as charged as this one is and not have a big discussion afterwards about its local relevance.”

He says that he is also trying to get someone from the University of Missouri’s Title IX office to speak on the panel as well.

“I think it’s important for local administrators to get out ahead on the issue and to talk about how Title IX investigations are going to make a difference from here on out,” Sturtz says.

Tickets can be purchased at Ragtag Cinema prior to the show or at the theatre the night of for $10. The film is being held at 6 p.m. April 9 at Missouri Theatre, and it will be at Ragtag after April 10.

For every ticket purchased for the April 9 showing, a $1 donation will be made to the coalition.

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