‘Telling Amy’s Story’ Comes to PBS

May 18, 2010 at 2:19 pm 2 comments

About a year ago, those of us who work in development and alumni relations at Penn State had a chance to watch a film about a domestic-violence case here in Centre County that led to tragedy: the wife dead, and the husband charged with murdering her. It was a spellbinding and sobering film, tracing the way the alleged harassment and violence escalated over time, and how the woman’s coworkers in retrospect might have been able to see what was coming. (I think that’s why it was shown to us—to raise our awareness and help us be more alert to the signs whenever a coworker might be at similar risk.)

When the film ended, the room was silent; we all just sat there absorbing what we had seen. And one of my first thoughts was, “Wow, we missed a chance to do a great story for the magazine.” I figured that since the movie was finished and already being used in seminars like the one we had just experienced, we were too late to get anything into The Penn Stater.

Now, more than a year later, I’ve just found out that the film is taking on a new life—and this time, we hope to cover it. Joe Myers ’98, creative director at Penn State Public Broadcasting and the film’s producer/director, apparently has reworked the documentary since last we saw it, and tonight, Telling Amy’s Story has its premiere at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Starting June 1, it will be seen on many PBS stations nationwide.

Telling Amy’s Story now features actress Mariska Hargitay (detective Olivia Benson on NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), who not only appears in the film but will speak at the premiere tonight in Washington. Hargitay is founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation, which seeks to “heal, educate, and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse.”

Telling Amy’s Story has an impressive website with a trailer for the documentary as well as resources to help prevent domestic violence; the film also has a Facebook page.

Meanwhile, we’ve assigned a feature story on the film, and the story behind it, to one of our favorite freelance writers. Because of the magazine’s lead time, the soonest it can run is our September-October issue, but we suspect that Telling Amy’s Story will still have legs (as they say) by then. And, needless to say, the problem of domestic violence is not likely to go away anytime soon.

Tina Hay, editor

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lorraine Mulfinger  |  May 19, 2010 at 8:17 am

    The premier showing of Amy’s Story at the Newseum was quite moving. Mariska Hargitay has become a powerful advocate for preventing domestic violence. I anxiously await the showing on WPSU.

  • 2. Deb  |  June 21, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    I was just spellbound when I was watching this show. This was long past my bedtime, but I couldn’t turn the TV off. This is so sad and it is happening too much in or country. What a powerful and moving story. Thank you for making this documentary.

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