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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 (2013). 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 (2005), How I Learned To Speak Turkish (2006) and the short “#slutwalknyc,” which had its world premiere at the 2013 Hamptons International Film Festival.
Therese curates The V-Card Diaries, a crowd-sourced collection of over 300 stories of “sexual debuts and deferrals.” This transmedia story-sharing portal highlights the humanity at the core of discussions on slut-shaming, older virginity and sexual assault. It was developed through two POV Hackathons where Therese worked with world-class developers to fuse technology, design and sex education. It was exhibited at The Kinsey Institute’s Juried Art Show, and was their first interactive piece.
Therese’s signature speaking style employs humor and personal revelation to encourage a direct conversation with her audience. Working with young people to create dialogue on feminism, healthy sexuality and the dangerous myths around virginity, she appears at schools, conferences, museums and even cabarets, including NYU, Duke, MIT, Penn State, Galapagos Art Space, and as a featured panelist at Harvard’s ‘Rethinking Virginity’ Conference in 2010. She has been invited to present her work at film festivals from Florence to Rio de Janeiro to Ankara; and she was honored to take part in Serbia’s first-ever Women’s Film Festival in 2009.
Her work has been covered by The Atlantic, Salon, Elle, Forbes, The Guardian, Feministing, Q with Jian Ghomeshi, 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 and her amazing crew 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.”
The film had its US festival premiere at DOC NYC in Fall 2013, one of the largest documentary festivals in the country. Its US broadcast premiere was on Fusion in February 2014 and it will air again in September. The film has or will be shown on television in Australia, Sweden, Brazil, Israel and Finland. International screenings have included events with leading women’s organizations in Tel Aviv and Haifa, and film festivals in Croatia, Turkey, Chile, Canada, 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 in Fall 2013 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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