Beneath the surface of domestic violence

kd_tamworthKirrily Dear runs through a guard of honour at Ken Chillingworth Oval from Tamworth, Peel High and Parry schools. Image – Barry Smith.


A new 25-minute documentary will be taking to the big screens across Australia from this month, raising a topic so many still cannot bear to talk about – domestic violence.

In November 2014 a film crew followed Sydney trail and ultra runner Kirrily Dear as she ran her way across regional NSW to raise awareness about the ‘white elephant in the room’, covering 860kms in temperatures that reached more than 50 degrees.

For 12 days she slogged it out through the hottest November in 57 years with just one purpose – to break the silence she could ironically hear surrounding domestic violence.

The short film, directed by Steve Pasvolsky, provides beautiful landscape backdrops of the real Australian regional outback, with seamless pans across barren desert and even some drone work for full effect.

The heat radiating off the roads is abundantly clear as Dear makes her way across some of the country’s hottest locations, allowing audiences to truly feel for her as she becomes at times disorientated – those images capture with great cinematography the pain and intensity Dear had to go through to finish her campaign.

Dear told Runglobal the run was something she had been wanting to do for a long time.

“There is no personal connection between me and domestic violence, it isn’t something I’d been exposed to in my life,” she said.

“I suppose it was my naivety to it that spurred my desire to do something about it – incidentally, there was a spate of murders in Sydney some years ago where women were killed by their (former) intimate partners, and it was at this stage I’d heard the statistic about it being one woman a week.

“It really stuck in my brain, and while I was out trail running, I just found myself in tears about it all, and it kept happening over and over again.”

As shots of Dear telling her story break apart footage of her running, there are other individuals who brave the camera to share what is more than likely one of the most hardest things they’d had to do – stand up against their perpetrators.

But one person in particular captures viewers that little bit more – and that is a man who was the perpetrator.

It’s hard to envisage him as an angry, aggressive human being as he relays his personal battles with a quiet and reposing tone, almost like a pastor revealing the most in depth secrets of a religion far beyond any human understanding.

It was a shame there was such little of him in the documentary; it would have been interesting to hear how he recovered and if he had the support of his partner or not.

A crewmember who had volunteered to help Dear, and who was also a published author on the subject, spoke to the camera of her personal tragedies with domestic violence, but it almost felt like she had another agenda besides assisting Dear’s message and there was a sense of confusion as she would pop up sporadically – at times, it felt she was somehow meant to be ‘the star’ of the film.

Dear’s campaign saw her gain assistance from the NSW Police Force, local domestic violence communities, schools, businesses, councils and sporting groups and one of the most impacting sets of shots were those of high school students relaying, albeit briefly, their own particular accounts of domestic violence.

That is especially confronting, because it provides an exact trajectory of just how much an impact it has on everyone – children are not blind, and Iceberg proves it.

The film is perfect length; there is only so much footage of a person running one can take, and Pasvolsky did a fine job balancing his active images of Dear with those who took to their stories so audiences didn’t sense a repeat of events.

An underlying theory of the title is that an iceberg is the world’s jewellery, all glistening and undeniably beautiful from what we can see above the surface, however down below, beneath the depths of the ocean, the human eye must truly get to the depths of the ocean to see how far the iceberg can go.

People who experience domestic violence may appear at times okay and stable on the outside, but on the inside, it’s too deep and painful to talk about – both victims and perpetrators.

With staggering statistics on domestic violence provided, an emotional Dear who really poured her heart out to the public both physically and mentally to get the distances covered, and imagery of a real Australia, Iceberg is a documentary that needs to be watched – it is a story that had to be told.

Iceberg will screen on Thursday, February 25 at the Blacktown Leisure Centre in Sentry Drive, Stanhope Gardens in Blacktown, NSW from 12pm to 2pm.

Tickets are free and available at Eventbrite.

Follow Dear on her facebook page and to see upcoming screenings, or to arrange a screening email

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