Documentary targets domestic violence
by JOYANNA WEBER, Banner Staff Writer
Apr 18, 2013 | 2015 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
‘The Children Next Door’
PENNY WALDROUP, center, sets up a table during a domestic violence awareness walk in May 2012 at the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway. Behind Waldroup, soundman Charles Farrell and director Doug Block film for “The Children Next Door.”  Banner photo, JOYANNA WEBER
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“The Children Next Door,” a documentary focused on domestic violence and part of which was filmed in Bradley County, is making its Tennessee premiere today at the Nashville Film Festival.

The documentary tells the story of Penny Waldroup and her children. It serves as a platform to bring awareness to the issue of domestic violence and how it affects children.

“It’s a passion of mine to speak out against domestic violence,” said Waldroup, a domestic violence survivor and Meigs County resident. “I was very pleased with it (the film).”

Waldroup attended the first premiere of the 30-minute documentary in New York. She said even though it was her story, the film still made her cry.

The Nashville Film Festival is one of several the Lynda A. Hansen & Associates independent film company has attended in order to showcase the film and to trumpet its message.

“The film has been well received,” producer Hansen said.

She said talking with people at the festivals and working on the film opened her eyes to just how many people have been affected by domestic violence. She has become aware of personal friends who have been affected by the family issue.

“It’s answered a lot of questions I didn’t know I had,” Hansen said. “We’ve learned … men become victims and survivors as well.”

As part of Waldroup’s work to bring awareness to this issue, she and a friend from Bradley County hosted an awareness walk-a-thon at the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway last May. Scenes from the event are featured in the film. This year, Waldroup is hosting the walk at the Riverpark in Chattanooga on Saturday. She and her daughter Chelsea will be speaking.

“I’m nervous, yet excited,” Waldroup said. “My biggest goal is just to bring awareness.”

Lynda A. Hansen & Associates, based in New York, worked with Brian Martin, founder of Children of Domestic Violence (formerly “Makers of Memories”), to launch the project.

Martin had met Waldroup in 2011 when the two appeared on the “Dr. Phil” show talking about domestic violence.

Martin wanted to do a film from a child’s perspective to bring awareness to the issue.

“He had a dream of a film that would go out to festivals but would also serve a higher purpose for his foundation,” Hansen said.

Martin asked Waldroup if she would be willing to share her story.

“I asked the kids and they were OK with it,” Waldroup said. “It was self-therapy for a lot of us.”

Hansen, along with director Doug Block and soundman Charles Farrell, met the Waldroups in January 2012.

“I just instantaneously fell in love with her and her children,” Hansen said. “She was so excited about helping other people.”

Waldroup said she hopes the awareness the film brings will lead to prevention of domestic violence.

“Domestic Violence really is a silent issue,” Hansen said.

One of the challenges to making a documentary is sometimes things do not play out the way the film crew thinks they will.

Hansen said the best part of the project for her was getting to know the Waldroups and filming in Tennessee.

To register for this year’s domestic violence awareness walk-a-thon, email info@cdv.org. For more information, call 423-716-0652.

Online:

“The Children Next Door”

http://www.thechildrennextdoor.com/