As a director and editor at PWPvideo I conceive, execute, and deliver emotionally engaging short documentaries and promotional videos for a diverse group of clients in the Philadelphia area including Women Against Abuse, ACLU PA, JEVS Human Services, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Roger Ebert referred to movies as “empathy machines”, and while PWP may not be producing big budget Hollywood movies, I often think of that concept and how it relates to PWP’s work. People are at the heart of all the organizations we work with and the videos we produce. Through thoughtful collaboration with clients and subjects we capture and share people’s experiences, struggles, triumphs, and passions. We create an opportunity for an audience to engage with another person’s experience for just a few a minutes and if that audience walks away with a deeper understanding of that person’s experience, then we have succeeded.

Women Against Abuse—William’s Story

This is the sixth video I have directed for Women Against Abuse’s annual Dish It Up fundraising event. Following the theme of the event, Our Stories, Our Voices, the video depicts William Spratley telling the story of his daughter’s tragic murder at the hands of her abusive partner and how that event turned William into the inspirational and passionate advocate against domestic violence he is today.

William’s candor and willingness to share his experience on-camera was incredibly brave and it was a deeply moving and cathartic experience for us all. Given the nature of the story we decided to use the Face to Face camera system to create a level of intimacy and empathy that would greatly serve William’s story. This system allows the subject to speak directly to the interviewer while simultaneously addressing the camera, creating the effect that the subject is speaking directly to the audience.

William shared with us a scrapbook of photos of his daughter Ameya for use in the video. Editor Chris Marston did an excellent job laying out the photos in a collage style to emulate the look of William’s scrapbook. Following the screening at Women Against Abuse’s event, which helped raise over thirty thousand dollars that evening, William and I had a moment to reflect on the experience. We embraced and he thanked me for helping him keep Ameya’s story alive which meant the world to me.

William directly addresses the camera via the Face to Face camera system.

One of the many examples of Chris Marston’s photo layouts emulating William’s scrapbook.