Taryn Brumfitt went viral in 2013 when she posted the below photo online. It was the reverse Before and After body shot the world needed. It showed pride in the female body shape from someone who was happy with their body after having kids. Someone that had no photoshop, no marketing, no editing and no qualms in placing the photo online. Social media and the world went nuts, so being the smart lady she is she set out and made a documentary on body shaming all funded via Kickstarter. Fracking bravo to her!! EMBRACE is her documentary and it is out now from the peeps at Transmission Films, sadly it has been rated MA15+ due to the naked female body, and it runs for 90mins. It is on limited release and cinemas screening it in Australia are listed at the end of the article. You can also visit the Fan Force website and organise your own screening if it interests you. Kernel Kate headed along to review this one. Enjoy her review below……..all the best………JK.
In 2013 Taryn Brumfitt posted a before and after photo to Facebook, but unlike most before and after shots hers came with a different message. After having three children and struggling to regain her fitness and figure she had learned to love herself just the way she was. Overnight her post exploded being seen by thousands of people around the world. The whirlwind created by her viral post saw Brumfitt interviewed and written about everywhere from her native Adelaide to Russia and in between. Now three years later Brumfitt is making her debut as a filmmaker with EMBRACE.
In the hours and days after her naked picture was seen by thousands of people Brumfitt found herself inundated with emails. Mostly from women and mostly thanking her for sharing and sharing their own stories in return. Brumfitt was surprised at just how many women shared personal stories of body struggles. It was from this that the idea for The Body Image Movement and EMBRACE was born. Sadly among the wonderful emails and comments she received there were some which swung the other way cementing in Brumfitt’s mind the need for someone to tackle the issue. EMBRACE takes Brumfitt around the world from her home in Adelaide, to Sydney, The United States, Canada and back again speaking to a range of people including models, photographers, plastic surgeons and celebrities about the issue of body image and the media.
While Brumfitt positions herself as talking to and for every woman the proportion of celebrities and well known figures compared to normal, everyday people felt a bit skewed to me. Ricki Lake and Amanda De Cadenet tell about having their body issues highlighted by the media in fairly lengthy interviews. Conversations with model’s and women’s magazine editors give an influencer’s view on the images and messages these industries continually put forward. There are shining moments including interviews with the amazing Turia Pitt and Harnaam Kaur, a model and ‘bearded lady’ who have truly interesting and insightful positions on body image and the media. But sadly for me the most ‘real’ moments were relegated to women on the street giving just two words to describe their bodies, almost all negative. This just left me with a film I couldn’t relate to.
EMBRACE was funded by a Kickstarter campaign launched in mid 2014 with over eight thousand backers. To have funded, filmed, produced and released a film in just two years is no mean feat. Brumfitt has assembled an accomplished and talented production team to help her bring EMBRACE to life and it shows. EMBRACE doesn’t feel like it’s been hastily flung together as films often do when they are made to tight deadlines and even tighter budgets. It is smooth, polished and something all the Kickstarter backers should be pleased to be involved with. Whether the crowd funding model will lead to real box office returns remains to be seen with many of these films struggling to find a wide release to date. With the Kickstarter trailer seen by over nine million people in less than two weeks could EMBRACE be set to break out?
The potential reach of EMBRACE could, however, be held back by the Australian Classification Board’s decision to classify it MA15+. With teenagers and particularly teenage girls being a core audience for the film this decision seriously hampers the opportunity for EMBRACE to get the message out. On top of this the MA15+ means the trailer can’t be shown before most films with a similar target audience. This isn’t the first time the Classification Board’s treatment of nudity has been questioned and it is worth noting the view taken globally differs with New Zealand originally ruling it exempt from classification as an educational film. Bizarrely New Zealand’s classification system is partly based on ‘borrowing’ ratings from Australia and the UK so this has since been revised but EMBRACE still remains accessible to younger viewers.
Despite the challenges it faces EMBRACE remains a well made documentary which has found a likeable, funny and insightful hero in Brumfitt. What really stands out is her passion for this subject as it comes through in her narration and her easy empathetic interviewing style making it one to watch for a fresh perspective on body image in the media.
EMBRACE IS SCREENING NOW AT THE FOLLOWING CINEMAS:
NSW: Palace Verona & Norton St, Dendy Newtown
ACT: Palace Electric
VIC: Palace Balwyn, Brighton Bay, Como & Kino, Cinema Nova
QLD: Palace Centro & Barracks
SA: Palace Nova Eastend
WA: Luna Leederville
Having always loved stories one of Kernel Kate’s most frequent childhood memories was her parents telling her in the early hours that it was way too late to still be reading and to go to sleep, but she would always sneak in the end of the chapter. Her love of stories led to a career in movies as well as remaining an avid reader of everything from novels to academic papers and junk mail. She makes a perfect reading machine fit to the Salty Cob.
** All images courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the publisher or distributor – credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.