The Hunting Ground: How Film Can Inspire Change

Published on February 1, 2015

hunting ground

Erol co-founders Julie and Sebastien Lépinard signed on as Executive Producers of the new documentary, The Hunting Ground, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. The film, from producer Amy Ziering and Oscar-nominated director Kirby Dick (The Invisible War), is an exposé of rape on college campuses. Erol attended Sundance this year to support the film and raise awareness about this issue.

Amplifier Strategies and Roco Films brought the opportunity to Erol Foundation after their collaboration on a screening of The Invisible War. As part of their core funding areas for 2015, Erol is exploring how film can be used to inspire important dialogue around social justice issues. When offered a chance to support their next project and help bring The Hunting Ground to life, the Erol co-founders were excited to be a part of it. They saw that this was both an important issue for national policy, as well as for anyone who is a parent or one day hopes to be one. The Lépinards contributed to the film alongside producers Regina K. Scully (MissRepresentation), Geralyn Dreyfous (The Cove), and Maria Cuomo Cole (Living for 32), among others.

The audience at the premiere included 4 women who participated in the documentary as well as U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (Democrat, California) and Kristen E. Gillibrand (Democrat, New York). Both Senators are backing legislation addressing the high number of assaults on college campuses. Today that number is estimated at 1 in 5 women, a startling figure that does not take into account the majority of rapes that are never reported.

After the screening, the filmmakers shared their experiences and the scrutiny they, and their interviewees, faced at every turn. The majority of college administrators from the 90 schools under federal investigation for sexual assault complaints declined to be interviewed. The film instead highlights the stories of courage, determination and activism from women who chose to speak out.

Erol plans to follow the developments in advocacy and policy change that is already underway. Erol and Amplifier are in conversation about the ways that films can tap into larger movements and be used to inspire action and create system wide change.


About the film

The Hunting Ground features personal, first-hand accounts of campus assaults and the movement that has helped expose rape as a national epidemic. It includes first-hand interviews with students and staff about the prevalence of crimes and institutional cover-ups. Ultimately, the film tells the story of networked activism among a group of young women to expose the reality of rape culture on their campuses and in American society. The film will be released in theaters in March (distributed by Weinstein Co.’s Radius label) and premier on CNN later this year.

Watch the trailer to learn more:


Pictured above: Julie and Seb Lépinard (Erol Foundation); Allison Duncan and Chantal Buard (Amplifier Strategies); Annie Roney (Roco Films); and Amy Ziering (Hunting Ground producer)