Solon Quinn Studios has just released their new public service announcement, ‘Say Something.’ We sat down with Solon Quinn to discuss his inspiration for creating the video, which highlights the importance of speaking up when we hear others victim blame survivors and trivialize sexual assault.
Tell us a little about Solon Quinn Studios. What type of content have you created in the past?
Though the details may change, the energy and passion remain consistent through my entire body of work. The portfolio that my team and I have built over the last decade at Solon Quinn Studios contains a strong balance between social responsibility, corporate philanthropy, and branding content in the form of film, video, and web. We do extensive work with organizations involved with domestic abuse, ovarian cancer, and healthcare. However, our client list ranges from financial institutions, the hospitality industry and higher education to shoe designers, property developers, and companies in the tech space.
This new public service announcement focuses on one man’s failure to intervene when he hears other people victim blaming survivors of sexual assault. What does the issue of sexual assault mean to you?
I believe that sexual assault is a hate crime. Violence against women is a systematic, worldwide problem.This is not to discount male survivors of sexual assault, but I believe that the vast majority of crimes against women are rooted in the deeply ingrained sexism that is normalized in our culture.
I could give personal stories. I could say that it’s because of friends, family, or complete strangers—and all those would be true—but ultimately I believe that my motivation to create this piece is something that lives within every person on this earth. When you break down all of the barriers, the walls, and divisions, the existence of oppression is unnatural and abhorrent, and it disrupts the peace of every person living in a society
Violence against women is an issue that is so prevalent and exists to such a degree in our lives and our history. Once you see it, and once you understand what’s happening, it is inhuman to not want to end it.
Why did you choose to partner with NO MORE for the release of this PSA?
The idea that this piece could affect people, push them to think deeper, reconsider their perspective, or be open to different beliefs resulted in the partnership with NO MORE. It was of great importance to collaborate with an organization that holds the same beliefs and passion surrounding the issue of eliminating domestic violence and sexual assault, which NO MORE undoubtedly does.
“It is extremely important for men to realize that this is not a women’s movement. This is a human movement.”
How do you think that visual mediums like film can inspire people to action? How do you believe it can disrupt cycles of violence and sexism?
I feel it is extremely important for artists—photographers, musicians, filmmakers, painters, and poets—to be a part of societal change. People have been exhausted with the constant back and forth of whether the news is true or not, whether it is being presented in an honest fashion, and whether it’s being censored. Art has the ability to cut through the presentation and the doubt, to speak the truth, which at this point in time is of the utmost importance.
Film has the ability to foster compassion in others by making them confront and question their fears, prejudices, and negative emotions. With film, we can remove layers of defensiveness, and open ourselves to ideas and feelings that we might otherwise reject or ignore. It has the power to move people into experiencing truth, rather than questioning it.
What role do you think men play in preventing and speaking out against domestic violence and sexual assault?
Men’s role in ending sexual assault and domestic violence is to first listen, then to learn, and to understand. To be open, and then to adjust their way of thinking, to change their behavior, and to pass their understandings along—not just to sons and brothers—but to friends, fathers, co-workers, and strangers. I think this change will take generations, and men’s role within this change is absolutely essential.
What do you hope that this PSA accomplishes? What’s the biggest lesson you hope people learn from viewing this video?
The reason I chose to approach this piece from a male’s point of view, is because I think that it is important for men of all ages to see the impact they can have—or not have—on ending sexism, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. It is our choice to be active or passive, to stay silent or engage. It is extremely important for men to realize that this is not a women’s movement. This is a human movement.