When we released our first film, Light in the Shadows, the world wasn’t ready for it.
Recorded in 1998, our founder, Shakti Butler, intended to use this shorter film (45 mins) to raise funds for the production of other World Trust projects. In the movie, a conversation unfolds among ten American women from a range of backgrounds. The women lived in the Bay Area and came from African, Arab/Middle Eastern, European, Jewish, Asian, Latina and multiracial descent. They spoke frankly about the social and emotional impact of engaging with the world within the racial identities attributed to them.
The participants all came to the table with decades of social justice advocacy behind them. These were skilled communicators accustomed to the language of race and inequity, unconscious bias, social constructs, patriarchy, transformation, collective humanity, and healing. They shared personal anecdotes and past pain. They challenged one another and showed support. It turns out the film’s greatest achievement was also its perceived flaw. The conversation in the film—and for those after who viewed the film—consistently broke down between white people and people of color. When the credits rolled, white women viewers hated the movie. People of color loved it.