“Audrie & Daisy” hits Netflix today — see what Daisy and the creators have to say about making the monumental film
You might have heard of a little film called Audrie & Daisy. The documentary, created by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, dives into the awful topic of sexual assault and social media, discussing four total incidents of young women who had their lives turned upside-down after their unfortunate and grisly assaults. While Audrie & Daisy focuses primarily on two specific subjects, the film really reaches out to all women — and the families of women — who have found themselves in similarly horrifying situations.
The film made its debut at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival early this year, and was quickly scooped up by Netflix. Watching the film will fill you with rage, love, and compassion — and it’ll also educate you on how rape truly affects the entire life of the victim after the incident takes place.
HelloGiggles got a chance to chat with Bonni, Jon, and Daisy Coleman, one of the main subjects of the film. We discussed not only the documentary itself, but the impact that Daisy’s case had on her.
While illustrated perfectly within the film, Coleman’s story can be summarized as such: Her and a friend went to hang out with acquaintances of her older brother, got drunk, and were both assaulted. Coleman was left outside in the cold to die, in a blackout state, and it’s a miracle that she was found by her mother in time. Since Coleman’s attacker, Matthew Barnett, was the grandson of a former state representative, felony charges were dropped. Does that make you feel sick? It should.
Coleman’s case was all over the news — and Cohen and Shenk thought she’d be an ideal candidate for their documentary.
"So, I was really hesitant when Bonni and Jon originally asked me to go through with the documentary ... especially since my case was already closed and done with," Coleman said. "But after I learned about Audrie's story, and I kind of figured out that there were a lot of other cases extremely similar to mine where girls weren't speaking out, or where they were being ostracized in their communities, I decided to go full force with the documentary to kind of be a voice for those who couldn't be a voice for themselves," Coleman said.
(By the way, as a sidenote: Coleman is currently 18 — and oh my gosh, her wisdom and maturity just shines through. Looking for an ideal role model? Check out Coleman.)
It’s a good thing that she did. As documented in the movie, Coleman tried, unsuccessfully, to commit suicide multiple times after her town seemed to dismiss both her and her family.
The harassment she received after being the victim for something out of her control was just incredibly overbearing. Cohen and Shenk learned about how horrible she was treated later on. What drew them into the case, was the fact that Coleman’s rape was caught on camera. Evidence of dastardly incidents like this one is so much easier to obtain, based on this generation.
"Bonni and I are a married couple, as well as being a film-making team," Shenk said. "We've got teenagers, kids, and ... we just saw in a really obvious way that kids are growing up with a different way of communicating. It's got a lot of positive sides, but it's also got some pitfalls that I think as a society... we haven't quite learned the ethical guidelines that we need to have. So, that was a part of it, that we were just in that space."
After completing the film, Shenk and Cohen knew they had something powerful on their hands. Besides Sundance, the film was screened at college campuses, crisis centers, and other venues that had an audience that would be able to relate to the stories of Coleman and fellow victim Audrie Pott.
"The screenings that we've attended... especially when Daisy and Delaney Henderson have been with us, have been really overwhelming, and staggering and beautiful, and heartbreaking," Cohen said. "It just has been a hugely emotional experience, but also really gratifying as filmmakers, because we've seen so many young people just really affected by it, and wanting to talk to Daisy and Delaney, and lining up to either tell their stories, or hear more from the girls."
Henderson is one of the other girls who was profiled for the film. She describes herself as an outspoken survivor of sexual assault and bullying, and her story and interviews helped make the documentary shine a little brighter.
Shenk and Cohen were definitely on the mark with one approach — in this day and age, information becomes available very, very quickly. One regrettable moment could be spread all over town in an instant. So, there was some curiosity in whether or not Coleman, as a young adult, felt like both her experience and her exposure made it difficult for her to date.
"Actually... dating came kind of easily after about a year for me, because that first year after my case went viral, a lot of people were just speaking to me out of the fact that they had heard about me on the news," Coleman noted. "When I actually did meet my current boyfriend, Ben, it was a lot easier for him to get to know me personally... he was just a normal teenage boy, he didn't watch the news, and hadn't heard about me."
(For the record, Ben does make a very brief appearance in the documentary, but in general, he’s not totally fond of the camera. We get that.)
So, where is Daisy today? Well, she’s in a great place. The documentary, which shows her dabbling with tattoo artistry, was just the beginning.
"After me tattooing unprofessionally and out of shop... I got the advice of an actual artist, and they told me to go away, and throw my junk machines away, and get an apprenticeship. Now I'm tattooing out a shop... and actually learning how to tattoo the right way," she said.
The trio is definitely happy that their story will be seen by so many on Netflix.
"We're thrilled that Netflix is releasing the film, and we're so psyched that the film will have a home online, on such a contemporary way of viewing film," Shenk noted.
We bet Netflix is happy about finding you and Bonni as well, Jon. And the audience can’t wait to see what your next project will be!
Be sure to catch Audrie & Daisy, which is scheduled to start streaming on Netflix today.