A group of Ryerson RTA students are challenging the definition of consent in their new film, Remnants of Eden.
The film made its feature debut at Al Green Theatre on Saturday, with over 220 people in attendance
The group, also known as Glass Ceiling Productions, is an all-female team that consists of fourth-year RTA School of Media students, Trish Riswick, Sloane Lester, Sydney Weinstock, Amanda Mastantuono, and Holly O’Brien. The film was made as part of their final thesis, but has grown to become something more than just a school project.
Remnants of Eden tells the story of a young girl named Eden Rosen, who encounters sexual assault at a young age. As she tries to move on from the past, she learns that her family and friends play an important role in her healing process, and that this isn’t a battle she has to face on her own.
“We want people to see that it could really happen to anyone, and it affects everyone. It doesn’t just affect the victim but it affects everyone around them and you can see that in the film,” said co-producer and production manager Sloane Lester.
The film was inspired by Sara Lewis’s story on sexual assault. She posted her story on When You’re Ready, a website where people can share their stories on sexual violence and sexual assault. When the team read Lewis’s story, they knew exactly what they needed to do – make sure that stories like Lewis’s are heard, and continue the conversation about consent and sexual assault.
Lewis says she still remembers when Glass Ceiling Productions reached out and wanted to use her story as their inspiration for the film.
“I cried,” Lewis said. “It’s a feeling I can’t describe. Having these girls be so inspired and actually impacted by my words to want to do something like this, it’s beyond incredible.”
The film stresses the importance of consent, and how a healthy relationship should be. Glass Ceiling Productions wanted to make it loud and clear that no means no.
“A lot of people have different boundaries. Just because it’s OK to one person, doesn’t mean it’s OK to the other person.” Lester said.
Director and writer Trish Riswick hopes that the film will encourage more women to share their own stories. “This is always something that women have kept to themselves, something that they’ve hid in their personal lives,” she said.
“It’s such a difficult and sensitive thing,” Thomas L. Colford, who plays Zach Cooper, said during the Q-and-A portion of the movie première. “We have to be true to these people’s stories because that’s the whole point of this. This is why we’re doing a project like this, is to make the change and educate people.”
Glass Ceiling Productions plans to keep the conversation going by submitting The Remnants of Eden to film festivals, with plans to upload the film to video streaming sites such as Vimeo and YouTube.
“We want our stories to be told, and we want to be the ones telling them. We want sexual assault to be something of the past,” Riswick said. “Because it is such an important message at such an important time, more people need to see this.”