Ellen Kuras Directs "Shelved" For Joyful Heart Foundation, Invisible Man


Robert Goldrich
Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018


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Every 98 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S. One of the biggest barriers to justice for survivors is decades worth of untested rape kits. A brutal new PSA says that the untested rape kit backlog has the same effect as putting the victims themselves on the shelf.

In the aftermath of a sexual assault, a victim who choses to undergo an exhaustive and invasive forensic evidence collection examination—often referred to as a rape kit—expects the kit will be tested and the evidence used to prosecute the attacker. Victims and the public alike assume those kits are tested. But the stark reality is that there’s a backlog of hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits, sitting on shelves in warehouses for months, years, even decades while perpetrators remain free to commit other sexual assaults.

The national campaign, “Shelved,” was developed by new agency Invisible Man, founded by former Y&R creative Rachel Howald. It was created for Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation in partnership with Viacom Velocity. The PSA seeks to draw awareness to the rape kit backlog and to encourage legislative reforms to improve the handling of rape kits, to eliminate the backlog, and to ensure it never happens again.

In the haunting spot, a forklift carries a woman, the personification of her rape kit, past other long-shelved victims of every age, race and gender as she describes the details of her assailant. Her voice is broken but hopeful as she says “All those details plus the DNA, is enough evidence for you to catch him, right?...right?”

Shelved was directed by filmmaker and cinematographer Ellen Kuras via production house The Corner Shop. Kuras’ credits include lensing the feature Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and recent directing work on Ozark. Kuras is a  three-time winner at Sundance for Best Dramatic Cinematography and her documentary feature film The Betrayal--which she directed and lensed--won an Emmy Award and earned an Oscar nomination.


Client Joyful Heart Foundation Agency Invisible Man (in partnership with Viacom Velocity) Rachel Howald, founder, art director, copywriter; Lisa Goore, executive producer; Niels Schuurmans, executive producer (Viacom Velocity); Tony Calandra, producer (Viacom Velocity). Production The Corner Shop Ellen Kuras, director; Anna Hashmi, exec producer; Jessica Miller, producer. Editorial Rock Paper Scissors NY Chris Mitchell, editor; Tania Mesta, assistant editor; Eve Kornblum, exec producer; Lisa Barnable, producer. Postproduction Eddie Reina, VFX/Flame; Sofie Borup, colorist; Alexandra Lubano, producer. Music “The Light” by The Album Leaf; Paul Greco, music consultant. Audio Post Sound Lounge Tom Jucarone, mixer.

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