Private Project

Unlearning Sex

A front row seat to a survivor’s six-month journey through sexual trauma therapy & healing, and reclaiming her body.

  • Zanah Thirus
  • Zanah Thirus
  • Zanah Thirus
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    38 minutes 50 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 30, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Zanah Thirus

Zanah is an actress, producer, writer, and director from Chicago IL. After being homeschooled until she was fifteen years old, she began her college career. Her love for filmmaking sparked after years of acting in a drama team, and various independent films. She received her master’s degree in cinema production from DePaul University at the age of twenty two, and began her career in independent filmmaking and content production in 2015.

In 2016, Zanah won Best Female Director for her short film “Hourglass” at the Cineplay Film Awards. Her festival credits as a filmmaker include Official Selection - Chhatrapati Shivaji International Film Festival (2016), Best Student Documentary - London Independent Film Awards (2017), Semi Finalist at The German United Film Festival (2018), and Finalist at Cinema Los Angeles Film Festival (2018). In addition to her international credits, five of her films are streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Since launching her brand, Zanah Thirus Productions LLC, Zanah has shifted her focus to merging arts and activism though documentary and narrative storytelling. Her films surround subjects such as gender, race, politics, and mental health. In 2019, her feature documentary- Black Feminist - was an official selection at the Bronze Lens Festival of Atlanta. That same year- her short film, Demons, was also nominated for Best Short Film at the Content Creators of Atlanta Awards. Shortly after her most decorated year, Zanah was named one of Diversity in Cannes Top 10 Filmmakers of the Decade.

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Director Statement

As a society, most of us don’t understand sexual assault, and the impact of trauma on one’s life. We give no room to nuance. We raise boys to think that sex is something to obtain from women, rather than a mutually shared experience. We shame girls for being sexual beings. We teach fear based sex ed. We box masculinity in a way that treats men as predators, giving no space for them to process trauma of their own. And the black community, especially, seems to overlook how much sexual trauma impacts our everyday lives. I’ve chosen to put my healing journey in front of the world – in hopes to be the change that I want to see. I hope survivors everywhere can watch this documentary, and gain the strength to start their own healing process. I hope that this documentary opens dialogue among all people, of all backgrounds, genders, sexual orientation, and races. I truly hope that sharing my journey saves lives…because healing from trauma is the only reason I’m here (and sane) today.