Interview with Filmmaker Peta Milan (RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN)

RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN played to rave reviews at the August 2018 FEMALE Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Peta Milan: I have a close working relationship with Victim Support Europe and they wanted me to create a film for them on cybercrime. I had read over the past year about the number of young people around the world committing suicide because they had been subject to revenge porn. The case of Tiziana Cantone in Italy in 2016 moved me the most. Her sex tape went viral and she killed herself, and I wondered whether it was the release of the sex tape itself or the huge amount of secondary victimisation and inescapability of the content that had her feel so desperately like it would never end.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

We had a very short time frame to come up with the concept, write the script and shoot is as there was so little money available for this film. The whole process took 1 week.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Debate Initiator

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Definitely the funding We shot this in Serbia and had to call in favours from friends in the film production industry there. Everyone was great, they believed in the story and the need for discussion on this issue.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

The mediators said it was the most polarizing film of the night, which I was very happy about. Some criticised the film and said it was like a PSA, and others thought it was a movie about trust and betrayal. I liked that people began debating the issue and discussing what they would do if it happened to them or a friend. In the end, the audience rallied behind Justine, the main character and said they would have her back. But the reality is for many this support is never obtained. I spoke with the mother of a young boy in Belgium who had taken his own life as explicit images were shared without his consent. After he had already passed away, the same perpetrators set up a fake Instagram account and continued to share the images. The process for the mother through all of this, including trying to get Facebook to take down the images, without deleting her deceased sons Facebook account and all of its associated memories was completely harrowing. I want films like Right To Be Forgotten to spark debate and have us openly engage in dialogue about how we could support people who are victims of this crime.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

Seeing news reports on a number of youth around the world committing suicide as victims of revenge porn. I wanted to do something that would speak to younger audiences, not as a warning not to share pictures of themselves, because I think in this day and age, especially when we’re in trusting romantic relationships, we do share images with the one we love, especially when some of use travel so much for work. It’s more about thinking in advance about “how would I feel if the whole world saw this?” If you don’t feel ok with it don’t do it, if you are ok then do what makes you happy. But our ability to be without privacy should be our litmus test about what we chose to share and what we chose not to.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Gone with The Wind. I love Scarlett O’Hara beyond belief and I love writing women

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I like Film Freeway, it’s a great platform to expand a films exposure, and that’s what it is all about at the end of the day. We want our films to be seen.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

This is a hard question to answer as I love music and listen to it all of the time.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

I am working on a 5 – part docu-series on counter-terrorism and countger0radicalisation that addresses victim and first responder impact and the mothers of radicalised youth working in communities to prevent radicalisation. For some they have never recovered and others have had their experiences become transformative and have dedicated their lives to counter-radicalisation or victim support. The series also takes a look at masculinity and what is it about notions of masculinity that have 95% of our radicalised people being men or young boys, whether its radical Islamists, jihadist, neo-Nazi’s or far alt-right or even the recent upsurge of Incel attacks. Most importantly we take a cross-cultural view of this issues travelling across 9 different cities in 9 different countries with an even look at the different forms of terrorist attacks as undertaken by the different forms of radicalisation mentioned.

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