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New documentary aims to expose sexual harassment in game industry

Following on the #1Reason movement, independent filmmaker Shannon Sun-Higginson hopes to use her documentary to further the conversation on industry sexism.

Kris Ligman, Blogger

April 17, 2013

2 Min Read

Shannon Sun-Higginson is a young filmmaker based in New York. As primarily a casual player, Sun-Higginson, until a year ago, was unaware of the extent to which women face abuse on a daily basis as players and as industry professionals. "I immediately began researching and filming this documentary," she explains. "Of course not all gamers are trolls or abusers - many are kind, supportive, and equally disgusted by this type of behavior. But the fact remains that this is a real problem, and it's time that the non-gaming public know about it." The project comes on the heels of last year's #1ReasonWhy movement on Twitter, where women in the video games industry shared their experiences being harassed or dismissed by their male colleagues. It also recalls the #1ReasonToBe panel hosted just weeks ago at GDC, where industry veterans Brenda Romero and Robin Hunicke sat beside the likes of critic Mattie Brice and Gamasutra's own Leigh Alexander. The success of that panel and many others which addressed sexism at this year's GDC prompted some journalists, such as Kotaku's Kirk Hamilton, to deem 2013 a turning point year for the industry at large. Sun-Higginson's documentary, dubbed GTFO, is positioned as the next phase in that growing conversation. "The purpose of this documentary is to reveal the experiences of women in the gaming world, both good and bad, as well as to provide steps we can take to change the environment for the better," Sun-Higginson says. "Nobody should have to endure being called a derogatory term simply because of their gender (or race, religion, or sexual orientation, for that matter)." The documentary is currently undergoing a funding effort on Kickstarter. Sun-Higginson says she has already shot quite a bit of material, but she is still looking for interview subjects to flesh out the project. You can learn more here.

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