Hello, my name is Dan Bruun and I am an anthropologist and a filmmaker. I am from the Sacramento Valley town of Davis, California. As some of you may know, my past films have been about underground subcultures in places far from my hometown, places like The Bronx, Jamaica, and Manchester, England.
My latest project is a homecoming.
Davis is an idyllic university town of 66,000 inhabitants, located in California's Sacramento Valley. On March 10, 2013, Davis residents were shocked when a beloved lifelong member of the community, thirty-two year old Mikey Partida, was brutally assaulted while leaving his birthday party near the city's downtown. The attacker, a nineteen year old lifelong Davis resident and son of two prominent local doctors, was suspected to have been motivated by a bias against homosexuals. He was arrested by local police and charged with a hate crime.
Disturbing events like this can create a particular energy in a community. Like many others in Davis, I felt compelled to act. Immediately I began contacting the witnesses and charging my camera batteries.
It's now thirteen months and over fifty hours of footage later and I never could have imagined the way this project would unfold. Indeed, truth is stranger than fiction.
This film takes the viewer through the story in the present tense. Through first-hand accounts, the film illustrates the effects of this type of violence on the victims and their families, communities, and the purveyors of violence themselves.
This project comes at a time when communities across the country are asking themselves what, if anything, can be done to prevent this type of violence before it happens. The question involves sensitive sociological and psychological issues and to ensure these issues are presented from an informed perspective, I am collaborating with leading academics and medical professionals.
Dr. Robert Faris. Associate professor of Sociology. University of California, Davis. Dr. Faris is the project's primary consultant. His research on bullying has made international headlines.
Recently, Dr. Faris' partnered with Anderson Cooper's 360 program on a study of school bullying. The results of this study were presented in a weeklong series of events on CNN.
H. Eric Bender, M.D. Dr. Bender is a board-certified psychiatrist who operates a private practice in San Francisco. Amongst other services, Dr. Bender provides psychotherapy to adolescents.
In his role as a New York Times contributor, Dr. Bender recently co-authored an editorial entitled, "Does Media Violence Lead to the Real Thing?" He is the co-founder of Broadcast Thought, a company that specializes in helping create accurate portrayals of mental health matters in the media.
Dr. Karen Franklin, PhD. Dr. Franklin is a clinical and forensic pyschologist. As a forensic psychologist, she specializes in the evaluation and treatment of criminal defendents. She is experienced in risk assessments, mental status exams, and other forensic evaluations. She conducted groundbreaking research into the psychosocial motivations of anti-gay violence. A former legal affairs journalist, and a frequent commentator in the press, Dr. Franklin has contributed to national conversations on issues surrounding violent offenders.
Dr. Gregory Herek Dr. Herek is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis. As an internationally recognized authority on prejudice against sexual minorities and anti-gay violence, Herek has been a pioneer in the scientific study of heterosexuals' prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, as well as the effects of that prejudice on its targets.
How you can help
With your help, this small town story will be told, leading to an increased public understanding of the issues present when American youth commit acts of extreme violence. By contributing to this project, you will be allowing me to finish shooting and editing the film. Upon the projects completion, the funds will help distribute the film for screening in educational institutions, academic conferences, and film festivals.
My interests are in academic anthropology and documentary filmmaking. After earning a master degree in visual anthropology from the University of Manchester, UK in 2006, I worked in the film industry and as a college professor. My films have been shown in film festivals in seventeen countries and have been used a part of undergraduate and graduate curriculums in anthropology. My film Temporary Sanity is part of the Royal Anthropological Institute's recommended curriculum for anthropology undergraduates in Great Britain.