SRJC alumnus releases “Unspoken”

Kyle Schmidt, Staff Writer

Santa Rosa Junior College alumnus Austin Smagalski, 21, wants to make a difference. He is in production for his new project “Unspoken,” which portrays the struggles of children who are sexually and physically abused.

The highly anticipated short film, which debuts May 14 at the Capstone Festival in California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB), conveys the message that it is important to voice your personal abuse and the dangers of not doing so.

“When incidents of abuse happen it becomes a part of your psyche; it affects you forever, and you never have the chance to conquer that and move on,” Samgalski said.

Smagalski, winner of the Sunset Rotary Emerging Artist Award, developed the idea for “Unspoken” while watching a video on YouTube. The video displays a man alone with his camera who refers to himself as “Spider.” Unable to voice his own early-life experiences without breaking down in tears, “Spider” uses flashcards to reveal his lifelong secret of being sexually abused as a child.

“After seeing that video I, literally within five minutes, got on my computer, started writing down the script and had the first draft immediately. It’s a matter of getting justice but it’s also a matter of being able to come to terms with something like that,” Smagalski said.

“Unspoken” portrays the life of Danny, played by Ethan Paisley, and his experiences at a Christian camp that focuses on training homosexual boys to be straight. During his stay at the Bible summer program, his pastor, played by Raymond C. Duval, abuses Danny, causing permanent emotional and mental scars. “I could have chosen any instance of abuse, but there was something about this one that stood out to me,” Smagalski said.

“Unspoken,” filmed solely in Sonoma County with Petaluma-based actors, is in post-production.

Smagalski is using money out of his pocket and equipment from CSUMB to create the film. His goal is to alter the lives of those who were abused in the past by encouraging them to speak out to their loved ones. Smagalski said the film does not convey an anti-Christian theme, but is a message for those carrying secrets that are too heavy to hold.

Smagalski is launching a #SafetoSpeak campaign on Facebook and Twitter and aims to create an environment where those who want to can voice their hidden thoughts. The “Unspoken Short Film” Facebook page can be found at and is constantly updated with further information pertaining to the film. The film also has its own website at .