«Videotape»: A new film about child abuse

Photos courtesy of Videotape Shortfilm Facebook Oficial

Young Mexican moviemaker Sandra Reynoso Estrada just became the only Latin American director nominated for the 2019 BAFTA award in the Live Action category, thanks to her Videotape documentary which talks about the problems that plague children that fall victim to child abuse.


Photos courtesy of Videotape Shortfilm Facebook Oficial

Such is the name of the 23-minutes-long short film that tells the story of two girls, aged 10 and 13, who face the horrors of child abuse after one of them is raped by her uncle.

The nominee explains that the film is meant to tell the story of thousands of boys and girls. The film is set in the 90s, a time of great political and social unrest borne from the crisis the country was going through.

The film’s plot centers around the victim and her friend, who wish to have revenge against the attacker – the uncle – due to his abuse of one of them; at the end of the film, they must reframe their revenge plan.

Reynoso explains that the idea for the film came to her during her time at Ciudad de Mexico’s Moviemaking Training Center (CCC, in Spanish). Afterwards, she says, the idea grew and bloomed. According to the research data she compiled for the movie, back in 2015 Mexico was third in the list of countries with most child abuse cases; it is currently number one on that list, both when it comes to abuse and the consumption of child porn.

Videotape took two years from conception to premiere: the script took 6 months to write; the filming took 13 days. Post-production took another 6 months.

The film was premiered at the 2018 Morelia Film Festival, though it toured other festivals at the national level. The film was also nominated for the 2019 Ariel award and will be screened at the Shanghai Movie Fest.

Sexual violence against children

Photos courtesy of Videotape Shortfilm Facebook Oficial

Sexual violence is a reality in all countries and social groups and takes the form of sexual abuse, harassment, rape or sexual exploitation in both prostitution and pornography. It can also take place in homes, schools, work places or tourist and entertainment spots, among others.

Nowadays, smart devices and the internet expose children to the dangers of sexual violence, since pedophiles can use these tools to try to have sex with minors. There has also been an increase in both the numbers and circulation of child abuse photos.

Back in 2002, the WHO estimated that around 150 million girls and 73 million boys, aged younger than 18, were victims of forced sexual relations or other types of sexual violence that include physical contact.

Many of these children are sexually exploited every year through prostitution or pornography. However, most of the children or their families choose not to report these cases due to fear of stigma or lack of trust in the authorities, making them more vulnerable to aggressors that may be lurking around them. Abused children face a long life of physical and emotional issues.