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Arts & Culture

INDEPENDENT LENS: Rewind

Courtesy of Rewind to Fast-Forward Productions
In a moment of intensity, young Sasha Joseph Neulinger frames his face with the jaws of a shark. (undated photo)

Airs Monday, May 11, 2020 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV + PBS Video App

Courageous Documentary Paints a Vivid but Ultimately Hopeful Portrait of a Family Plagued by a Vicious Cycle of Abuse

Made up of home video footage that reveals a long-kept secret, Sasha Joseph Neulinger’s documentary "Rewind" is a brave and wrenching look at his childhood and his journey to reconcile his past. By probing the gap between image and reality, the film depicts both how little and how much a camera can capture.

Praised by IndieWire as “a heroic autobiographical documentary,” “Rewind” makes its broadcast debut on INDEPENDENT LENS.

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For as long as Sasha Neulinger can remember, a video camera was ever-present, with his father constantly filming — from birthday parties, to hockey games, to holidays.

But his father’s camera, trained on the frequent gatherings of a tight-knit family, was also documenting a hidden secret, the revelation of which would lead to a media firestorm, a high-stakes court battle, and a generational reckoning.

Courtesy of Rewind to Fast-Forward Productions
Sasha Joseph Neulinger unboxes video tapes from his childhood sent to him by his father.

An intensely personal project six years in the making, “Rewind” reframes the perspective on traumatic events from Sasha Joseph Neulinger’s childhood, this time placing him in control of the camera, firmly at the helm of his own narrative.

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As each frame of footage unfolds, so, too, do the layers of this complex and affecting survivor story, the heartbeat of which is Neulinger’s vulnerability, bravery, and enduring positivity, against all odds.

Courtesy of Rewind to Fast-Forward Productions
Sasha Joseph Neulinger visits his father's childhood home, a location where family members experienced sexual assault, on Disston Street in Northeast Philadelphia.

Featuring intimate home video footage spanning over a decade, as well as first-hand interviews with Neulinger’s family members, and the law enforcement and mental health professionals on the front lines of subsequent legal battles, "Rewind" revisits these traumatic events 20 years later to piece together an unflinching story of the cycles and consequences of abuse.

Ultimately, “Rewind” also examines what it means to heal, and to use those experiences to effect positive change in the world.

Neulinger is now a committed activist speaking out against child abuse, and his difficult experience throughout his legal process at the time these events were unfolding actually went on to inspire the formation of the Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center.

“During this historic time when families everywhere have to shelter in their homes, I keep thinking about the children and women who are trapped in unsafe environments,” said Lois Vossen, INDEPENDENT LENS executive producer. “For these men, women and children, victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault, this is a time of constant terror as they are forced to be with their abusers 24/7, unable to shelter safely. Working with RAINN, we hope ‘Rewind’ will reach these survivors and offer help.”

Neulinger’s film earned a Special Jury Mention at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, as well as the Documentary Jury Prize from the 2020 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

Courtesy of Rewind to Fast-Forward Productions
Sasha Joseph Neulinger and his father Henry take a break from an interview during filming at Henry's home.

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This episode will be available simultaneously with the broadcast on the INDEPENDENT LENS website, PBS.org and the KPBS Video Player for a limited time.

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Join The Conversation:

INDEPENDENT LENS is on Facebook, Instagram, and you can follow @IndependentLens on Twitter.#IndieLensPBS

Credits:

Director: Sasha Joseph Neulinger. Producers: Shasta Grenier, Avela Grenier and Robert Schneeweis. Executive Producers: Thomas Winston and Cindy Meehl. Editor: Avela Grenier. Director of Photography: Jeff Dougherty. Composer: T. Griffin.