Our Latest Dusty Rose: Diana Whitten

Diana Whitten is a documentary filmmaker, currently working on her first feature-length film, ‘Vessel’. Vessel is the story of Women on Waves, and organization that provides reproductive health services to women in countries where birth control and abortion services are illegal. They invite women onto their specially designed ship, and by doing their work in international waters, they evade prosecution and spare women from the horrific risks of unsafe abortions.

We spoke with Diana about this incredible project, and why you should get a job at Fashion Week.

How did you first hear about Women On Waves?

I was getting my Masters in international media at the New School, and one rainy afternoon, a classmate asked me if I’d heard about this abortion boat. We started looking it up together, and something just clicked. I just knew it would make a great story.

The driving force behind Women On Waves is Rebecca Gomperts, an activist and medical doctor from the Netherlands. You can see from the film’s trailer, everywhere Rebecca goes, a media spectacle ensues..

As soon as I started making it, I became fascinated by the way video is used as a social activist tool. In a way, the media attention is the most important part of what Women On Waves do. They certainly save women’s lives, but the ship isn’t a sustainable solution. They can only stay in one place so long, and they can only help a handful of the people who really need them. The media spectacle helps show how absurd this situation is: women have to sail into international waters to excise their human rights. This absurd act becomes an event that activists can organize around, and boost reproductive rights campaigns on a national political stage.

What I love about this group is how many ways there are to tell their story. It’s a story of activism and media theatre, but it’s also a romantic story of outlaws – human rights pirates. And it’s also a simple story about passionate people who are trying to right a wrong. Now the film is turning into a mini-courtroom drama. I’m shooting in Spain soon, where one of the doctors featured in Vessel is being prosecuted for helping Women On Waves. He wants to use our footage to as evidence that he didn’t break the law.

Where can our friends learn more about the film?

Watch a trailer and more footage at www.vesselthefilm.com, and stay up to date at our blog www.vesselthefilm.wordpress.com. If you can spare a donation to help us finish the film, you can donate there. The film is entirely funded by grassroots supporters and their tax-deductible donations. And every little bit counts.

Dusty Rose agrees. Everyone should watch your amazing footage, donate, and then buy a piece from this photo shoot. Did you have a favorite from all the looks we shot?

That’s a hard question. I loved the spotted, ‘Stepford Wife’-style dresses. And maybe that yellow sundress. But they were all great. I can’t choose just one. I do freelance camera work at New York Fashion Week, and I try to play the same ‘which one would I take home’ game. But it’s impossible.

Fashion Week sounds like a dream gig.

The best thing about working there is you usually have access to the tents, so you can see the clothes up close. They are so exquisite, more sculpture than clothing.

Thanks, Diana.

Artists and Fleas market in Williamsburg

We've lived in the neighborhood for three years, but we've never tried out any of the markets before. But as the weather starts looking nicer, we thought we'd give this one a try. We're not really sure what to expect, but if you're in the area come check us out!

Artists and Fleas is on N 6th at Bedford in Williamsburg. We'll be there Saturday, May 16th from 12 - 8 pm.

Hope to see you there!

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