about therese

Therese Shechter at Kinsey Institute

At the Kinsey Institute with V-Card Diaires

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Therese Shechter deftly fuses personal narrative, interactive technologies and grassroots activism to chronicle 21st Century feminism, most recently as the writer and director of the documentary How To Lose Your Virginity (Women Make Movies, 2013). Policy Mic said the film “might make you rethink everything you know about sex,” and the Australian Daily Life called Therese “part of a new vanguard of feminist thinkers and media makers.”

Her other documentaries include I Was A Teenage Feminist (Women Make Movies, 2005), How I Learned To Speak Turkish (Indiepix, 2006) and the short “#slutwalknyc,” which had its world premiere in 2013 at the Hamptons International Film Festival. In Fall 2013, three of her films were screened in festivals on three different continents.

Therese curates The V-Card Diaries, a crowd-sourced story collection of over 250 “sexual debuts and deferrals.” Harnessing cutting-edge interactive technologies, THE V-CARD DIARIES is a transmedia story-sharing portal that highlights the humanity at the core of discussions on older virginity, slut-shaming and sexual assault survivors. It was developed through two POV Hackathons where Therese worked with world-class developers to fuse technology, design and sex-education. It was recently exhibited a The Kinsey Institute’s Juried Art Show, their first interactive piece, and Kinsey has become an outreach partner to further develop the project.

Therese Shechter doing Q&A after a screening in Tel Aviv

Doing Q&A in Tel Aviv with Shanna Fishel of You’ve Got Choices

Therese’s signature speaking style employs humor and personal revelation to encourage a direct dialogue with her audience. She is a sought-after presenter, from college Sex Weeks to film festivals in  Florence, Rio de Janeiro and Ankara, and she was honored to be a panelist at Serbia’s first-ever Women’s Film Festival in 2009. Working with young people to create dialogue on feminism, healthy sexuality and the dangerous myths around virginity, she appears at colleges, conferences, museums and even cabarets, including NYU, Duke, MIT, American Sociological Association, Galapagos Art Space, and as a featured panelist at Harvard’s ‘Rethinking Virginity’ Conference in 2010.

Her work has been covered by The Atlantic, Salon, The Huffington Post, Forbes, The Guardian, Bitch magazine and The Jakarta Globe, among others, and she herself has written for the Chicago Tribune, Talking Points Memo, Nerve, Women & Hollywood and Adios Barbie as well as her own long-running blog (which prompted a conservative blogger to call her a “brazen advocate of slut culture.” Her work has received support from the Jerome Foundation, New York Women in Film and Television, POV Hackathon and Stanford University Law School Fair Use Project. An expert Kickstarter fundraiser, she raised $50,000 in backing for How To Lose Your Virginity.

Therese’s most recent documentary How To Lose Your Virginity challenges the meaning, myth and misogyny of virginity in American culture. Revealing how ideas about virginity shape the sexual lives of young women and men, the film journeys beyond the Abstinence movement to examine the intersecting forces of history, politics, religion and popular culture. Soraya Chemaly, writing in The Huffington Post called it a “smart, funny and provoking documentary.

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On the “How To Lose Your Virginity” set with Jenna Rosher and Gram Ponante

The film had its US festival premiere at DOC NYC this fall, one of the largest documentary festivals in the country. Its US broadcast premiere was on Fusion in February 2014. The film has been sold to Australian, Swedish, Brazilian, and Israeli television. The Israeli broadcast led to screening events with leading women’s organizations in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and at the Haifa Cinematheque. It’s also had festival appearances in Canada, the US, Croatia, Turkey, the Czech Republic and Korea.

Therese’s first documentary I Was A Teenage Feminist, which Ms Magazine called “a spirited exploration of the trials and tribulations of contemporary feminism,” premiered on Canadian television in 2005 and went on to win a special mention at the Karachi (Pakistan) International Film Festival and  Best Film from the National Council for Jewish Women. A staple of gender studies programs all over North America, the film continues to screen widely, most recently this fall at the PSBT International Film Festival and Forum in New Delhi.

Prior to becoming a filmmaker, Therese was Graphics and Design Editor at the Chicago Tribune, where she was the art director for two Pulitzer-Prize-winning projects. Her studio Trixie Films is based in Brooklyn.

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