On Tuesday, Charter Arts was visited by a 2008 Alumni, Sasha Neulinger. Visiting with his co-producer, Robert Schneeweis, Sasha was given a warm welcome by Charter Arts Principal, Mrs. Fehlinger-Ricker, followed by an introduction from his former teacher, Mrs. Wagner.
(Left to Right) Robert Schneeweis, Diane Wagner, Sasha Neulinger, and Sharon Fehlinger-Ricker
Speaking to a crowd of current Charter Arts upperclassman, Sasha shared his own high school experience. Sasha was a child actor, seen in Law and Order: SVU and films such as Shallow Hal and Camp Hell. As a theater major at Charter Arts, he often missed school to go on shoots and auditions. Sasha shared that as many times as he missed school for acting, he missed even more for court hearings. Between the ages of four and eight, Sasha lived through multi-generational sexual assault by three different male family members. After realizing that his little sister was also being targeted, he came forward about what was happening to him. From then on, Sasha had to testify against each of his abusers as they were tried separately. The final trial did not end until the day before his seventeenth birthday.
After high school, Sasha started a new chapter in his life and attended Montana State University where he received a B.A. in Film Production. Recounting the event on Tuesday, Sasha shared with Charter Arts students that he did not tell anyone about his abuse, in fear that it would become his identity. Through the various facades Sasha embraced, there came a time after college when he was ready to face his past in order to move forward. He left a great job at National Geographic to create a production company, Step 1 Films, with his roommate Robert Schneeweis.
Sasha began to create an autobiographical film about his life and survival of multi-generational childhood sexual abuse. After watching his father’s home videos, he began to piece together a story, which soon became Rewind to Fast-Forward. In April of 2014, a Kickstarter Campaign was made for the project and their goal was reached in the short span of a week. Today, it is the 6th most backed documentary in Kickstarter history. The film is currently in its post-production stage. Sasha shared that an editor who worked on Pixar’s Cars and Life of Pets, is currently working on Rewind to Fast-Forward.
Sasha shared his story with Charter Arts students on Tuesday, as he has with thousands of others. In addition to his up and coming documentary, Sasha dedicates his time to public speaking for child advocacy and child abuse prevention. In May of 2015, Sasha released a TEDTalk called, “Trauma is irreversible. How it shapes us is our choice.” which now has received over 90,000 views. Rewind to Fast-Forward is expected to be released in August of 2018. The film follows Sasha’s life, featuring over 200 hours of home films, as well as Sasha’s experience viewing them. For more information on the film, visit rewindtofastforward.com.
Article written by Kylie Miller.