Production Info Produced Southern Light Alliance, and the Body Image Movement
Financed with the assistance of
Screen Australia and the South Australian Film Corporation
Australia, USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Austria
and Dominican Republic
From Director Taryn Brumfitt: “EMBRACE is a social impact documentary, which explores the issue of body image. The project has been supported by nearly 9000 Kickstarter pledgers who responded to a fundraising trailer I released in 2014, which has now had over 25 million internet views. We have also had support and from Screen Australia, the South Australian Film Corporation, philanthropists, businesses, celebrities and thought leaders. The inspiration for EMBRACE came about after I posted an unconventional before-and-after image on the internet in 2013 that sparked a media frenzy. The image, which embraces body diversity, was seen by over 100 million people worldwide and led to hundreds of interviews and articles. But I soon realized how restrictive 4-minute TV interviews, 800 word articles and 140 characters on Twitter can be. This issue needed a louder voice on a bigger platform, so the idea of creating the documentary EMBRACE was born.”
Taryn’s before-and-after image (2013) has been seen
by over 100 million people worldwide
Praise for Embrace ★★★★★
"A compelling, inspiring viewing experience that is in no short supply of joy and triumph"
- EMPIRE MAGAZINE
“A powerful, and important film. Beautifully executed and just so so imperative for girls and women everywhere.”
- RICKI LAKE
"Brilliant, inspiring and mind changing. Take your daughters, your sons, your mum, your sister, your friends"
- MIA FREEDMAN, MAMAMIA
"It’s not very often a film will change my perspective on life, but after viewing Taryn Brumfitt’s documentary Embrace it was a completely different story."
- MEG KENNEDY, THE AU REVIEW
“Brumfitt is a naturally engaging frontwoman”
- VICKI ROACH, NEWS LTD
“Her superpower is connecting with people”
- SARAH HARRIS, THE WEEKLY REVIEW
“A stirring and highly entertaining film celebrating self-acceptance”
"A highly accessible and refreshingly honest Australian-made documentary, Embrace is transmitting a valuable message all women should be hearing loud and clear"
- LEIGH PAATSCH, THE ADVERTISER
“Positivity simply leaps from the screen through this inspiring and liberating film as it puts our physical attributes into perspective and allows us to realise we can take control of our own sense of worth”
- LOUISE KELLER, URBAN CINEFILE
When Body Image Activist Taryn Brumfitt posted an unconventional before-and-after photo in 2013 it was seen by more than 100 million people worldwide and sparked an international media frenzy. EMBRACE follows Taryn’s crusade as she explores the global issue of body loathing, inspiring us to change the way we feel about ourselves and think about our bodies.
At home in Adelaide, Australia, Taryn Brumfitt is a wife and mother of three. But internationally, she is a highly recognised body image activist whose powerful message has reached over 100 million people worldwide via traditional and social media. After receiving more than 7000 emails and messages from people all over the world, Taryn realised that there was a global body-hating epidemic and felt compelled to find answers.
EMBRACE is told from the point of view of Taryn as she traverses the globe talking to experts, women in the street and well-known personalities about the alarming rates of body image issues that are seen in people of all body types. In her affable and effervescent style, Taryn bares all (literally) to explore the factors contributing to this problem and seeks to find solutions.
After 24 months of travelling, interviewing, production and post production Taryn and the Embrace team have created a film that is relevant, relatable, highly engaging - but above all, life changing.
Embrace Filmmaker Q and A Taryn Brumfitt - Writer / Director / Producer The ‘before and after’ photo hurled you into the spotlight, why did you choose to channel that momentum into a documentary? TARYN: “I felt really compelled to make the film because so many people had reached out to me after my before-and-after photo went viral on the internet. I received about 7000 personal emails and it wasn’t just females aged 35 to 45 - it was people from all walks of life sharing their stories of body image issues.
Before I knew it I was doing interviews with Good Morning America, The Today Show (US), Sunrise, Today Tonight and TV stations in Russia and Poland. I had my own story to tell but with TV interviews being so short, there was never enough time to convey all the stories I was hearing. This is not some fluffy, body image piece to be tacked on to the end of a news segment, this is an issue that’s affecting millions of people every single day.
I realised that a documentary is an ideal format to explore the issues of body image. I get 90 minutes of someone’s attention and can take them around the world, into different cultures, meeting different people who share their stories. It’s really important for me as a filmmaker, and as founder of the Body Image Movement, that as many people see EMBRACE as possible, because I know it has the ability to start a conversation and therefore create change.”
A large portion of Embrace’s budget was funded through a Kickstarter campaign, how did that impact the making of the film? TARYN: “I decided that I would make a documentary, but I had no money so I did some research and came across the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter. I created a four-minute promotional trailer and I put it up and went ‘here you go world, can you help?’
Initially it was a 60-day campaign where I’d set out to raise $200,000, and at the end of the campaign had raised $331,000. At the time it was Australia’s most successful crowd funded documentary in history, but more importantly, what it said to me was that people are interested in this subject, and people are tired of being fed the same messages. People want positive change. The promo trailer has now had more than 25 million views.”
Where do we travel and who do we meet in the film? TARYN: “Twenty-two months later it feels like there is nowhere we didn’t travel to. We went to the United States, Canada, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, the Dominican Republic and of course Australia. We filmed all across the world and what I found by listening to the stories from all of the people we met, was that body image had affected everybody.
The first interview I did was with Ricki Lake in LA, and it was fascinating to hear her story because she was someone that I thought had it all together. But she was so vulnerable and open, it took a lot of courage for her to say ‘no I’ve been affected greatly by this and I still am today’. Even though Ricki is much trimmer than in her younger days, she still has issues of wanting to change something about her body.
The more I travelled and the more I spoke to people I realised that as a filmmaker I needed to be really flexible and just go along for the ride. That was easy because while I wanted to share my story, I also had this platform to share all of these other stories that I was gathering along the way. Whether it was burn-survivor Turia Pitt, Harnaam Kaur the ‘bearded dame’, magazine editor Mia Freedman, German actress Nora Tschirner or celebrity photographer Jeffrey Madoff, it was incredible to find all of these diverse and empowering perspectives on body image.”
Tell us about your trip to the surgeon in the film. TARYN: “In the documentary I strip down to my underwear at a surgeon’s office in Beverly Hills. I wouldn’t ask anyone to do something that I wouldn’t do myself and I felt that it was really important for the audience to experience what happens behind those closed doors of the cosmetic surgeons office: What is that conversation? So I put my hand up and went ‘okay I’ll do this’ and it was quite fascinating to hear what that particular surgeon had to say about how broken he thought my body was.”
What do you hope that audiences will take away from the film? TARYN: The media and advertisers so often present one singular body type as being the standard. In truth, hardly any person on the planet looks like that and the images are often digitally manipulated anyway. But so many perfectly healthy normal people are left feeling inadequate. We should all be empowered to just not buy into it.
I want people to walk away after watching EMBRACE believing that they can embrace and love their bodies unconditionally. I know from travelling around the world that this is a real problem that’s affecting people’s lives every single day. I hope the film will start a more positive conversation about body image and that audiences will be inspired by the stories they’ll hear, and the people they’ll meet through the film.
Anna Vincent - Producer What attracted you to the project? ANNA: “I met Taryn by chance and she told me about the film. Her energy and passion is completely captivating - Taryn is someone who wants to change the world and make it a better place.
I work with producer Tim White, and together we met with Taryn and her husband Mat, who is executive producing. They were so passionate about making the film, that we immediately wanted to support Taryn to bring her vision to the screen. We’re thrilled to be involved with a film that is not only entertaining and inspirational, but also has the potential to positively impact the lives of many people.”
ANNA: It’s a joy working on a film that we knew from the out-set had a built-in audience. Taryn has a loyal community of followers, and they’ve been very supportive of her making EMBRACE. She’s made the film to specifically address the many thousands of emails and messages she has received over the past three years and we are now very excited to see how audiences respond to the finished film.
EMBRACE deals with some serious and personal subject matter, such as bullying and depression, and yet Taryn has taken that material and created a film that is incredibly entertaining and life-affirming. So I hope that audiences come out of the theatre punching the air, feeling good about themselves, and understanding that they don’t suffer their problems alone.
PRODUCTION TEAM: DIRECTOR/WRITER/PRODUCER – Taryn Brumfitt Filmmaker Taryn Brumfitt is an internationally recognised body image activist and the creator behind documentary EMBRACE. Taryn's powerful message has reached over 100 million people worldwide via mainstream and social media. She has been interviewed by Good Morning America, USA's Today Show and 60 Minutes. Such is the strength of her international following, the EMBRACE Kickstarter trailer has had over 25 million views and earned the support of personalities such as Rosie O’Donnell, Ashton Kutcher and Ricki Lake. Taryn’s Embrace Kickstarter campaign was the most successfully crowdfunded documentary in Australian history.
Prior to the Body Image Movement, Taryn worked as The Australian and New Zealand Operations Manager for a Fortune 500 company and for the past decade has worked as a freelance photographer.
These days Taryn is sought after internationally as a keynote speaker, she was rated as General Electrics “most highly rated speaker in 2013” and more recently was invited to present at Google headquarters in Silicon Valley. Her best-selling book EMBRACE “My story from body loather to body lover” hit the shelves in 2015 and soared to number 1 across multiple categories on Amazon. She was also recently recognized alongside Beyonce and Kate Moss in Brigette magazines acclaimed ‘Women of The Year’ awards in Germany.
PRODUCER – Anna Vincent Anna Vincent is a film producer whose recent credits include Scott Hicks documentary HIGHLY STRUNG (Adelaide Film Festival 2015) as executive producer, and as producer on UK co-production CHASING SATELLITES with director Jim Loach starring Paz Vega, Carmen Maura and Edward James Olmos. Anna has spent 20 years in film production, including as a specialist publicist on films Australia-wide and in the UK, China and USA. In 2013 Anna launched film production company Southern Light Alliance in partnership with producer Timothy White, and works across a network of international producers and filmmakers.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER – Timothy White Timothy White is one of Australia and New Zealand’s most experienced film producers with over 45 credits, most recently THE PATRIACH (Berlin 2016), BEAST (TIFF 2015), THE DARK HORSE (TIFF 2014) and SON OF A GUN (London Film Festival 2014) which stars Ewan McGregor, Alicia Vikander and Brenton Thwaites.
New Zealand born, Tim is a graduate of University of Canterbury’s School of Fine Arts. His credits include: SPOTSWOOD, starring Anthony Hopkins and Russell Crowe; Michael Rymer’s ANGEL BABY (AFI Best Film 1995); DEATH IN BRUNSWICK, starring Sam Neil; and Gillian Armstrong’s OSCAR & LUCINDA, starring Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett.
Timothy executive produced Gregor Jordan’s TWO HANDS (AFI Best Film 1999), starring Heath Ledger and Bryan Brown. He then headed up Working Title Films’ Australian arm executive producing NED KELLY, starring Heath Ledger, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom and Naomi Watts, and GETTIN’ SQUARE, starring Sam Worthington and David Wenham.
In 2009 Timothy produced Scott Hicks’ THE BOYS ARE BACK, starring Clive Owen, and executive produced Julia Leigh’s SLEEPING BEAUTY, which premiered at Cannes 2011. In 2015 Tim was executive producer on Scott Hicks’ documentary HIGHLY STRUNG, and producer on CHASING SATELLITES by UK director Jim Loach.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER – Mathew Brumfitt Mathew Brumfitt is a proud and vocal supporter of Taryn and the Body Image Movement and is a strong advocate for change in societal pressures causing negative body image. Mathew is the Managing Director of Body Image Movement and works alongside Taryn on a day to day basis helping to increase the reach and sustainability of The Body Image Movement. Mathew brings a wealth of commercial acumen to the production being a successful business person in the global logistics field for over 20 years.
CO-PRODUCER – Bettina Hamilton Bettina Hamilton is a South Australian filmmaker who has worked professionally in the industry for the last 10 years. Bettina was the winner of several producing awards throughout her screen production degree at Flinders University. After graduation Bettina produced the short film CROPPED, which was financed by the South Australian Film Corporation. Cropped was winner of Best Comedy at the South Australian Screen Awards and was nominated for Best Short Film at Chicago International Film Festival and Best Short Film and Best Screenplay at the prestigious ACTAAs and was also selected for competition as part of the Sydney Film Festival in 2011.
Bettina wrote and directed the documentary AGE OF AVATARS, which has screened on SBS several times as part of a series about Generation Y. Bettina has also worked as a Production Coordinator on several feature films including TRACKS and SNOWTOWN, which have taken her to some interesting parts of Australia. For the past two years she has been working as the Production and Development Manager at Southern Light Alliance, the SA based production company of Timothy White and Anna Vincent. EMBRACE is her first feature credit as a Co-producer
EDITOR – Bryan Mason Bryan Mason is a director of Closer Productions and an award winning film maker. His career began with the production of four acclaimed skateboarding films. In 2010, Bryan shot, edited and co-produced the Sundance documentary SHUT UP LITTLE MAN! AN AUDIO MISADVENTURE. In 2011 Bryan directed his debut feature documentary, the multi-award winning, LIFE IN MOVEMENT, dealing with the death of rising-star Australian choreographer Tanja Liedtke. Bryan shot, edited and produced the acclaimed 52 TUESDAYS (2014) a feature drama, set and shot every Tuesday, every week for a year. Bryan's editing has gained him numerous awards including and AACTA for Shut Up Little Man! in 2011 and a screen editors guild award for 52Tuesdays in 2014
EDITOR – Lindi Harrison Lindi Harrison has a wealth of experience in documentary, drama and arts programmes. She cut her teeth on feature films, assisting on productions as diverse as THE SUM OF US, which starred Russell Crowe, and THE CUP, directed by the revered Bhutanese lama, Khyentse Norbu, and the award wining documentary "4".
Lindi’s recent work includes THE DESTRUCTION OF MEMORY (2015), CALL ME DAD (2015) and I AM A GIRL (2013), which earned her nominations for both the AACTAs and the Australian Screen Editors
In her non-broadcast work, Lindi has edited programs for the 2000 Olympics and for the Venice Biennale and was recently editor on two hour-long documentaries for SBS Independent; BETELNUT BISNIS, set in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, and the acclaimed THE HEALING OF BALI.
SONGS BY – Jude Perl Jude Perl is a singer/songwriter/comedian who was born in Texas but grew up in Melbourne. In 2012 Jude released her debut EP ‘3am’ which featured her first single ‘Girls & Boys’. Her single received regular airplay on commercial radio all over Australia. Her music video for ‘Girls & Boys’ was also shortlisted for the 2014 SoundKilda film festival.
Her debut album ‘Modern Times’ was produced in LA by Grammy award winning engineer Brian Paturalski (Outkast ‘Speakerboxxx/The Love Below’). Whilst in LA, Jude also worked with Colin Hay (Men At Work) recording one of her album tracks with him at his studio and singing backing vocals on his latest album ‘Next Year People’.
In 2015, Jude performed her first hour-long solo comedy show ‘Is It Just Me?’ for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Her season sold out and three extra shows were added due to popular demand. ‘Is It Just Me?’ has since been nominated for a Green Room Award for best original songs and best artist.
COMPOSER – Benjamin Speed Benjamin Speed is an Australian-born film composer, musician and producer.
He has scored over 30 films including the multiple award winning THE CAT PIANO narrated by Australian musician Nick Cave; the Australian Documentary Prize winning THE SNOW MAN, The Australian Film Institute Award winning A NORTHERN TOWN; The MTV 180 Project winning 'DUNGOONA; the Comic-Con winning STREET ANGEL; three Tropfest Australia finalists, CARNIVORE REFLUX, GLASS and THE MAESTRO; the acclaimed short films TENDER and ANIMA and 52 TUESDAYS which won Best Director awards at Berlin and Sundance.
Among other awards, Benjamin has won one and been nominated for three APRA Australian Screen Music Awards, won Best Score at the St Kilda Shorts Festival and was nominated for an American MPSE Golden Reel Award for Music Editing.
Benjamin holds a Bachelor degree in Music Technology from The Elder School of Music and a Masters degree in Screen Music from the Australian Television and Radio School. He was an active board member of the Australian Guild of Screen Composers and now resides in Los Angeles.