Comments / Reviews

Feedback from viewers continually informs both creative and community engagement decisions & potential


Changing the Conversation: America’s Gun Violence Epidemic

“The Guns, Grief, and Grace in America documentary is an engaging and timely educational tool to use to teach undergraduate public health students about policy advocacy. It was also wonderful to have Janet  facilitate discussion in our class.  The students were excited to ask her about her unique film and public health work and were very motivated to begin their work as public health advocates after her presentation.

Kaija Zusevics, MPH, CHES PhD Candidate, Medical College of Wisconsin Adjunct Instructor, Carroll University

The showing of Changing the Conversation and Janet Fitch’s discussion of the film with my (PhD) health policy students not only introduced them, very effectively, to violence as a public health problem, but also illustrates the importance of ‘framing’ a discussion to most effectively serve an intended purpose. It is an important film asking for an even more important conversation.

Kirsten M. M. Beyer, PhD, MPH Fellow and Instructor Institute for Health and Society, Medical College of WI

Adding this video and discussion was a great idea. It helped me think out of the box a little more and to expand my idea of my role as a future provider. I enjoyed how this topic was presented in a discussion and video format and that we could have a conversation about its importance rather than being tested on objective minute details. Very much recommend for next year!

Physician’s Assistant Student – Marquette University


I found the entire film engrossing….couldn’t move from it. There’s a lot there…..the first segment taught me things about how the legislature works that I had only guessed at, was taken by the level of commitment of so many ordinary citizens to lobby to stop the craziness, and was not surprised at the level of back-office politics that seems to pervade so much of how democracy is really done in this country. Loved seeing so much footage of WI as well.

The 2nd segment was equally powerful for me. One of the 3 men who founded the organization, I believe in MKE, stole my heart. Think I’m a groupie: the one who often wore a skullcap, had a meditation room, was a poet – would make a remarkable preacher. Dedicated men who were inspiring – as were the many mothers and family members and active citizens and young people these 3 men were engaging. So many people need to see this segment!

The 3rd segment would be the selection best suited for my course at Pilgrim. So glad you featured an ordinary town such as Marshfield. I also liked very much the concluding section which would be shown with this 3rd segment.

I loved ALL your selections of music.The cinematography was an added plus to the whole message – scenes along Milwaukee’s shoreline, the difference between the high rise exensive condos downtown MKE and the short ride that connects with 27th Street.There were so many genuine leaders in the film…..they were such an inspiration. Also, a plus for me was that the folks on the right were not made into the enemy….thus, the film communicated compassion – an embodiment of principles of servant leadership while not straying from the message OR the call for action on the part of us all.

Whole project involved a gozillion details  – wow!

Midge Miles, Founder/The Storied Organization , West Bend, WI

Adult Education Coordinator, Pilgrim United Church of Christ, Fond du Lac, WI


The Series

“Congratulations. It’s wonderful…marvelous content, photography, editing.”
-Amy Swerdlow, PhD, historian and author of Women Strike for Peace.Professor emeritus of history and director emeritus of the GraduateProgram of Women’s History at Sarah Lawrence College

This series does more to bring awareness to the issue of gun violence than anything I’ve seen because it reaches the heart as well as the mind.”

-Milwaukee County District Attny E. Michael McCann

The series and website are GOLD!”

Patricia Koehler, Ethan Allen School

Without a doubt, this work will enhance my research presentation on the topic of firearm violence – because it brings faces to the statistics.”

-Matt Miller, MD, MPH, Harvard School of Public Health

At this time, it is imperative that people from around the world are able to put a face on Americans working for change within their own country”

-Global Women’s Studies Conference, Dublin, Ireland

“My friend and I watched the Trailer last night and we both wept throughout. I am very encouraged to see your work and those brave women!”

-Donna Dees-Thomases, founder of the Million Mom March

“I just got back from Washington, D.C. I have shown the ‘trailer’ of your documentary series to many people who all love it and find it incredibly powerful!”

-Karine Moreno-Taxman, Criminal Chief, Violent Crime and Narcotics, U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern Division of Wisconsin

“I just watched your piece on gun control and the Million Mom March on your website – excellent!”
-Annie Melchior, PhD, Program Manager Department of FilmUniversity of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

Dear Rita & The Promise of America

“Dear Janet, It was a moving, inspiring documentary. You accomplished the mission of getting everyone to care about this issue and wove the faces of so many different people into the film. Wonderful job. Congratulations on such fine work.”

Kathleen Dunn, Wisconsin Public Radio

“My name is Roxanne Steeber. Myself and 3 fellow mothers (Kathy DeRuyter, her sister, Mary Jo Mueller, and my best friend, Audrey Halfmann) drove from Sheboygan, Wisconsin to Washington D.C. for the Million Mom March. It was what we told our family we wanted that year for Mothers Day. I will never for the rest of my life forget what that trip or especially what that warm Sunday morning felt like. When we walked up from the Metro on to the Mall and saw all the people not just Mothers who were there for the same purpose as us. To get some changes and or some laws past. Not to take the guns away from law abiding people. But to keep them safer around children and away from those who would use them in a reckless or unlawful manner. Watching Dear Rita made those feelings all come back. It was very well done.Hopefully it will help bring us to those changes this country so desperately needs. I would also like some information on were I could see or buy the other two movies that were made by New Moon Productions on the Million Mom March and the gun issue. Thank You for your time and keep up the good work.”

Roxanne Steeber

“Watching “Dear Rita” on Monday on Channel 10, I was so moved. The family and all in their circle (teachers, children,etc.) are to be lauded for sharing their story with all of us. I can not even begin to imagine what the death of Rita must have been like for all of them. I do know that by sharing with us the beauty of the life of their child, sister, granddaughter, student and friend, that one of the strongest points made was the senselessness of acts that are committed with guns. If each of us can speak up a little louder when laws are pending, support community groups that help children grow up with a sense of value, make the family unit stronger, find good role models , we may make a dent in the problems of society. I am dedicating myself, personally, to find a way that I can speak out. I don’t know what it will be yet, but it is for “Rita” and all the others. Thank you for the production.”

Katharine Ann Ulat

“Many congratulations on your documentary. It was so well done. What I personally liked best about it was that you made Rita and her family so real that by the end I felt they could be members of my family. I think this, in particular, is what your documentary has to offer since it’s easy to live in denial and to think, “it can’t happen to our family”. Thank you for this powerful contribution to a cause I consider a priority. I’d just about given up on this one but your documentary has given me some renewed hope. I hope you spend your day basking in the warmth with which the documentary and its message were received.”

Rochelle Riley

“It was great! Go for the national–it deserves it! Also let us know timing and any redo’s here. I would love to let League of Women Voters folks around the state know.”

Jan Martin

“I just caught the last half of Dear Rita on Monday night. I must commend you for producing one of the best documentaries I have ever seen, and I’ve only seen half of it. I’m not normally so effusive but I believe this work needs to be entered in next year’s Academy Award competition. I would very much like to see the entire documentary. Can you tell me if it will be repeated soon or whether I may purchase a copy of the video. I am a teacher at The Milwaukee High School of the Arts; I teach advanced journalism in our Creative Writing Department. Your film would be a great,  inspirational, teaching tool for my class, many of whom are aspiring to be documentary film makers. I believe that through studying “Dear Rita” they would better understand all of the steps that go into researching, writing, and producing such a work, either in print or in video. I’m also going to be a bit presumptuous in asking if you or any of your team would be available to talk to my class about the process of filming “Dear Rita.” We have recently been studying how being a police and fire reporter can provide one with the material for feature stories and films
of the stature of “Dear Rita.” Your film would really bring home that point and provide the motivation and inspiration they need to make this future a real possibility for them.


GlenScott Copper Milwaukee High School of the Arts

“Hi Janet it’s me Andrea, Cindy’s cousin. Monday night I felt so bad, I wanted to be there for the showing I couldn’t get out of work early enough, but I did get alot of positive feed back, from co workers who watched it. They said it doesn’t affect you that much until it happens to some one you know and that is so true…you can’t believe it’s this close to home. I went to pass out flyers at work they already had them. They said someone sent them. Anyways, the point is they were already up and I wore Rita’s shirt that day and people were saying how an innocent life could be taken for another’s stupidity. I was thinking while they were talking to me you know some one should make the inmates watch that before they get out of prison so they could see what they put families through. And one day it may happen to them if they continue in there ways. It’s so weird it happened a year ago, and it seems just like yesterday. The video was beautiful — how sad that we have to watch her making headlines  this way instead of happy headlines… I cannot tell you how much you have helped our family out, just being there for them so they could have someone to talk to and to let out how they feel and for that, I am ever so grateful to you and your staff…I cannot thank you enough..”

Andrea Felipe

“Janet, Your production of Dear Rita was a first rate professional presentation. I watched the entire show but had to busy myself with other things and avoid listening when Rita’s mother described the wrong order of losing a child. I know that perspective all too well. Also most telling was Rita’s sister’s revelation that things like this don’t happen to people like us. The essence of the family came through in your movie. You did a wonderful job.”

Dianne Spector



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