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Photograph courtesy of the Tamiment Library, N.Y.U

Odyssey Impact Recognized For Its Commitment To Storytelling With A Call To Action

The nonprofit film studio behind “The Rape of Recy Taylor” has won a coveted Peabody Award for its work chronicling the effects of gun violence and mass shootings.

Odyssey Impact, which focuses on faith-based storytelling with a social impact, is set to cinch a Peabody award for its documentary film, “Newtown,” which explores how the Newtown, Conn. community – and particularly its religious leaders – were left emotionally wrought and traumatized following the school shootings there in late 2012.

“We’re really looking at today’s pressing social issues, whether that be criminal justice reform, sexual assault, gun laws…we’re understanding diverse issues, and unpacking them for diverse audiences,” said Melissa C. Potter, Odyssey Impact’s head of social impact and communications.

Potter said Odyssey’s genre of documentary filmmaking seeks to “connect the dots between the mainstream community and the faith-based community,” Potter said. And the company will get its biggest platform yet when its acclaimed documentary “The Rape of Recy Taylor” premieres on Starz! July 2.

The film recalls the tragic story of Taylor, an African-American 24-year-old wife and mother who was abducted and gang-raped by six white men while on her way home from church services.

Recy Taylor, Courtesy of Odyssey Impact

“She’s kind of the godmother of the #MeToo movement,” Potter said. “Even though she was threatened with death, she told the sheriff and she told the NAACP, who sent a little woman named Rosa Parks to hold these men to task.”

In the spirit of the documentaries before them, the filmmakers hope that “The Rape of Recy Taylor” encourages sex abuse survivors to use their voice.

“We hope that it will inspire others to come forward in terms of everything around sexual assault and sexual violence,” Potter said, “something that women of color are experiencing every single day.”

Potter said the Odyssey Impact wants its films to spur viewers to make a difference in their own communities. For example, following a screening of its documentary Milwaukee 53206 – about the devastating effects the criminal justice system on families, one church congregation began a ministry ferrying its worshippers to visit their incarcerated loved ones, Potter said.

“And that all stems from us showing that film,” Potter said, “and we’re really proud of that.”

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