Reel Focus continues this month by bringing awareness to the issue of domestic violence. Last week, we gained insight into this topic from Tiffany Hill, executive producer of the film THE LAST TIME, as she shared with readers her own personal struggle with domestic violence and how she broke free from it. This week we highlight another film that diverges a bit from the topic of domestic abuse and zeros in on the misogyny of women – a distorted belief about women that is often the basis for domestic abuse. HONEY TRAP, directed by Rebecca Johnson, features a teenage girl whose gender is placed on the trial of public scrutiny for the violence that erupts between two men.
Thank you so much, Rebecca, for participating in this very important blog segment on domestic violence. Can you begin by telling us what HONEY TRAP is about and what inspired you to create such a film?
HONEYTRAP is the story of 15 year old Layla who gets drawn into gang culture and a love triangle that leads to murder. It comes out of my having worked for more than 10 years making films with young people in Brixton, in the world where the film is set.
One of the first things that struck me as I got to know these young people was how little things had changed in the 20 years since I’d been their age in terms of the sexual double standard.
Girls were caught in the same impossible bind: the expectation of being both sexy – though a not a slag, god forbid – but also tough, adhering to the same macho persona as the boys, in order to be respected by them. The film is based on a real case that took place close to where I live. Media coverage used the youth and prettiness of the girl as a sensational story, titillating almost. The prosecution lawyer in the case described her as ‘knowing exactly what she was doing, manipulating her sexuality with expertise’. She was characterized as a femme fatale, even though she was a minor.
This really brought home for me how the double standard is enforced, not only by peer pressure but by society. As we know, the sexualization of women, even as children, is intrinsic to the way they are judged and found culpable in their own mistreatment.
I knew the story behind the press coverage. I knew how it would have felt to be this girl and I wanted to take audiences on a journey with her from the inside. Not seeing her as an inhuman monster but as a kid who spirals out of control in the grip of emotions she can’t control and without the stabilizing support of a strong family structure.
How did you get your film to be a part of Array’s network?
HONEYTRAP played at Urban World film festival in New York and the lovely Gabrielle Glore who runs UW told Ava about it and put us in touch. It was a lovely case of being recommended by one supportive woman in film to another! It’s a great honor for me to be included in the Array stable and the best possible launch for the film in the US.
Tell our readers where across the U.S. they can view this film.
HONEYTRAP is currently available via Netflix in the U.S. and Canada. Tour dates included New York, Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, Boston, Houston, Nashville, Montgomery and Gary. More screening dates may be added at www.arraynow.com/honeytrap/
Atlanta Screening Date: Sunday, October 16
Screening Time: 3PM
Location: Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History
Address: 101 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30303
RSVP Link: http://bit.ly/2dK7wxx
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Check out our previous article with Array – Ayanda.