Feature-length documentary

Backlash, Misogyny in the Digital Age

As part of the 16 days of activism to end gender-based violence, led by Les essentielles and Victoria Faulkner Women's Centre, don't miss the feature-length documentary Backlash, Misogyny in the Digital Age, directed by filmmakers Léa Clermont-Dion and Guylaine Maroist.

Two projections will be offered to the public (in French at 6:00 p.m. and in English at 7:45 p.m.).

For an audience of 19 years old and over!

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About the documentary

In fall 2017, the #MeToo shook the planet, sparking an unprecedented wave of sexual assault accusations in the Western world. Today, the storm of virulent misogyny is raging on, flooding our screens with harassment, defamation, lynching, sextortion, the sharing of intimate photographs, rape and death threats... According to the UN, 73% of women are abused online.

The feature-length documentary Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age follows four women and one man whose lives have been ransacked by online violence:

  • Laura Boldrini, the most harassed female politician in Italy;
  • Kiah Morris, an African-American politician in the state of Vermont who resigned following severe harassment and threats from right-wing extremists;
  • Marion Séclin, a French YouTuber who received more than 40,000 sexist messages, including rape and death threats;
  • Laurence Gratton, a young teacher in Quebec who was harassed for more than five years by a former colleague;
  • Glen Canning, the father of Rehtaeh Parsons, a young girl who took her own life after photos of her rape were spread online.

What is it like to live with this so-called virtual violence? That’s what this opus aims to show by closely following the victims in their daily lives. As in a horror movie, we witness in real time the waves of hate that assail them, the fear that invades their private lives, and the loss of their sense of security in public spaces. Their lives are marred by a loss of confidence, and by shame.

Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age also shows how each of these women, and this man speaking in his late daughter’s name, are waging the same battle. They share a common cause: refusing to be silenced. Their journeys intertwine. They demand widespread accountability from those who allow the propagation of such hatred, whether it be the tech giants, the state, or the perpetrators themselves.

Why this unrelenting and systematic discrimination against women? Can we leave the screen now and shift the age-old paradigm?

About the filmmakers

Léa Clermont-Dion

Léa Clermont-Dion is a writer, filmmaker and post-doctoral student in Art Education at Concordia University. Her Ph.D. thesis was about online anti-feminist discourses in Quebec. In recent years, she has published several books, including the bestselling La revanche des moches, Les superbes, Lettres à un souverainiste and Crève avec moi, her first foray into fiction writing. She was also the co-scriptwriter for Beauté fatale, which aired on Télé-Québec (2014). She co-directed and co-wrote with Gianluca Della Montagna the documentary T’as juste à porter plainte, which aired on Noovo.

For close to 15 years, Léa Clermont-Dion has been involved in social movements to emancipate women. She has given more than 200 talks on topics related to feminist issues, notably at the Council of Europe. She was also awarded a Vanier Canada Graduate scholarship, the most prestigious of its kind in Canada, underscoring her academic excellence and positive impact on the community.

 

Guylaine Maroist

After completing her studies in Cinema and Musicology at the Université de Montréal, Guylaine Maroist worked as a freelance journalist for Le Devoir in the early 1990s. In 2002, she founded La Ruelle Films to produce POV documentaries with producer and director Eric Ruel. She has garnered several awards in Canada and abroad, including a Governor General’s History Award, a Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the New York International Independent Film Festival, a Gold Ribbon Award, and seven Gémeaux awards.

Her recent films include God Save Justin Trudeau, Expo 67 Mission Impossible, Jukebox: Sing, Twist and Shout!, and Gentilly or Not to Be, which helped bring about the permanent shutdown of the Gentilly II nuclear plant. In 2015, she was appointed a member of the NGO Pugwash, becoming the first filmmaker in history to join the ranks of an organization that, since 1957, has influenced the United Nations and state leaders in matters related to global peace and nuclear disarmament. In 2021–2022, Guylaine Maroist was a guest professor at UQAM university’s media school.