Voice in Exile is a dramatic film journey into the mind and
emotions of Alan Woodward, a seventeen year old stutterer. Seeing the world, both
imagined and real, through Alan's eyes, we share the nightmare that haunts him
and his family as he struggles to not let his stuttering stop him from living.
Statement of Purpose
My goal as a filmmaker was to capture the inner world of
the stutterer through dramatic, symbolic, archetypal, and audiovisual
expression. This was a deeply personal journey for me since I have been
a stutterer for most of my life.
The process began with the writing of the script. During
the scriptwriting phase I delved into my own experiences and emotions as
a stutter and tried to translate them into a dramatic story. I also
interviewed other stutterers for additional research. The script was
further developed while I
worked with my cinematographer and production designer to translate the experiential reality of the stutterer
into a visceral audiovisual language. Then I worked with the actor, Ben Bottoms, on
both the physical aspects of stuttering and the emotional underpinnings.
Throughout this process and the rest of preproduction, production, and
postproduction, a profound inner battle waged within me. Part of me
desired to share these inner experiences with others, while another part
of me was terrified of revealing this deeply personal emotional reality.
An audiovisual score was
created for the film to explore the use of the expressive elements of space,
shape, line, light, color, tone, rhythm, movement, orientation, time,
contrast/affinity, sign, symbol and archetype in the capturing of the emotional
and perceptual states of an individual who stutters. This score was developed
from the my own personal story and experiences, along with the stories
and experiences of other stutterer's.
The screenplay and storyboards were
created concurrently with the visual score, enabling the integration of the
visual design throughout the piece.
The visual score included divisions for
subjective and objective perceptions of waking reality (SPR/OPR); subjective dream states
(SDS); and subjective developmental transitions (SDT).
A majority of stutterer's reported feeling as though the film captured their inner lives. This
produced emotional release, a reduction in feelings of isolation, and an
increase in self-esteem in numerous cases. There was one reported case of the
film averting an individualís attempt at suicide.
Families of stutterer's who
viewed the material reported an increase in understanding and empathy for the
family member who stuttered.
Non-stutterer's reported an increase in
understanding about stuttering and empathy for people who stutter.
Bottoms, Jesse Ehrlich, Richard
Sarradet, and Sarah
Produced for: The American Film Institute, Los Angeles,
Control Number: 89706420
CALL NUMBER: FBC 2336 (ref print)
Awards and Honors: GOLDEN BABE AWARD, Chicago Educational Film
Festival, USA - 1988;
GRAND PRIZE, Blue Electra, Birmingham Int. Film Festival, USA -
FIRST PLACE, Blue Ribbon, American Film Festival, USA - 1986;
FIRST PLACE, Narrative Short, San Francisco Int. Film Festival -
JUDGES AWARD, Sinking Creek International Film Festival, USA -
SILVER MEDAL, Chicago International Film Festival, USA - 1985;
FIRST PLACE, Student, Marin County Film Festival, USA - 1985;
THIRD PLACE, National Educational Film Festival, USA - 1985;
CINE GOLDEN EAGLE AWARD, CINE Awards, USA - 1985
Film Festival, USA, 1986; San
Francisco International Film Festival, USA, 1985; Sinking
Creek International Film Festival, USA, 1985; Chicago
International Film Festival, USA, 1985; Marin
County Film Festival, USA, 1985; National
Educational Film Festival, USA, 1985; Mill
Valley International Film Festival, USA, 1985; Deauville
Festival of American Film, FRANCE, 1985; Los
Angeles International Film Exposition, USA, 1985; Independent Feature
Project West, USA, 1985;
Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, USA, 1985; Minnesota
University Film Society Exhibition, USA, 1985; National
Stuttering Association National Convention, USA, 1985; American
Speech-Language-Hearing Association, USA, 1985; British Stammering Association,
ENGLAND, 1985; Speech
Pathology Foundation, USA, 1985.
Broadcasts: Cinemax/HBO, 1986; Arts &
Entertainment Network, 1989.