"Everywhere I look, Lord
I see FB eyes
Said every place I look, Lord
I find FB eyes
I'm getting sick and tired of gover'ment spies."
–Richard Wright, 1949
The Feeling of Being Watched is an intense and compelling film. It will undoubtedly elicit many reactions in you as the organizer as well as community members who are eager to watch and discuss with others. Due to the emotional nature of the content and what it might trigger, organizers are strongly encouraged to view the film prior to the screening. As you watch, notice how you feel, what comes up for you, and what is stirring some discomfort within you. Trust yourself and be open to the experience. After all, you will be asking community members to trust that you have created a space for them to feel safe – it is imperative that you work to provide that safety for yourself first.
Take a few minutes to reflect on the following questions:
What do you hope to learn by organizing this screening?
What do you think will be your biggest challenge to facilitating this dialogue?
What are some fears you may have about this screening and dialogue?
What hopes do you have for this screening and dialogue?
Using the feeling wheel (see resources), write down all of the emotions you experienced during the screening. Does anything surprise you?
Additional Suggestions for Organizers
Mental health volunteers: Invite qualified and trusted mental health professionals or individuals certified in mental health first aid from the community to serve as volunteers during the screening. The role of these individuals are to act as consultants, not therapists. They can help de-escalate anyone who is experiencing distress and encourage appropriate professional support and resources.
Normalize potential for distress or emotional impact: Be sure to remind the audience of where the nearest exits are should individuals decide to step out of the room to tend to their physical and emotional needs. Ideally, reserve a dedicated space or “calming room” where individuals can rest and relax – this allows for greater privacy and reduces the stigma associated with experiencing distress as the reserved room normalizes the occurrence of these overwhelming emotions and feelings. This room should contain items that have proven useful for those experiencing symptoms of re-traumatization or anxiety. These items may include stress balls, coloring books, “thinking putty” or play-doh, or bubbles and mental health resources.
Review trigger warning: a trigger warning is an acknowledgement or alert that the content or image to be discussed or viewed may be distressful or offensive. This notice or warning allows the community member to become more aware of their own responses and what they might need to soothe or calm themselves in a healthy way.