In the summer of 2013, 19-year-old Jessie Blodgett was a music education student at UW-Milwaukee, intent on changing the world through music. She was devoted to the cause of ending male violence against women.
But in July of 2013, Jessie Blodgett was raped and murdered in her own home. The story shook her hometown of Hartford devastating many, especially her father, Buck.
Five years later, Buck Blodgett is continuing Jessie’s work, through the Love is Greater Than Hate Project, a recent book, and now with a film directed by one of Jessie’s high school friends – Terry Beck.
Beck is a film student studying in Florida. His short documentary, Us Thereafter, started as a student project. It’s a brief look into Jessie Blodgett’s life, her legacy, and how she affected those who knew her.
"That's kind of where the title came from - how did this affect us and where did we all come from after this life-changing event?" explains Beck. "It was a story that I was often kind of uncomfortable to tell, but I thought if I was going to share it with everyone what would be the best way to do it and this just seemed like a really awesome way to share who Jessie was and also share the work that Buck was doing."
Beck notes that although his hours of footage and interviews collected was difficult to pack into a short documentary, it gave him the opportunity to see a bright side of the story that viewers could connect with.
"It was an opportunity for me to kind of have the closure and the part that I felt I needed from this film, which was just sharing Jessie with the world," he says.
Blodgett says that while Jessie and those who knew her lost many things when she was murdered - the biggest loss was her voice. "And to have a friend bring it back, I just jumped at the chance."
"I don't think about the technicalities, I think about the heart of it," adds Blodgett. "If you want to see a powerful story in seven minutes and be touched deeply and maybe be changed a little on the inside, then this is a great way to spend seven minutes."