March 28, 2024

Empowering Women Through Film: SCA Alumna Jacqueline Elyse Rosethal ’23

By Benjamin Pola

Backlog Movie Poster

During Women’s History Month, SCA alumna Jacqueline Elyse Rosenthal ’23 who earned her MFA in Film & Television Production, shared insights into her award-winning social impact film, Backlog, which she wrote, directed, and executive produced during her final year at USC.

Backlog is a drama that tells the true story of a young woman's three-year struggle to seek justice for her shelved rape kit, only to become the key witness in the Senate hearing to end the rape kit backlog. 

Inspired by both her personal experience with sexual assault as an undergraduate on a college campus and the real-life U.S. Senate Hearing on the backlog of untested rape kits, Rosenthal aimed to raise awareness on the often solitary and silenced journey of sexual assault survivors. Backlog shines a crucial spotlight on the mistreatment of survivors and the staggering national backlog of over 100,000 untested rape kits.

For Rosenthal, the film is more than just a creative project; it’s a call to action. “This is not a film. It’s a movement. It’s a commitment to a better future,” says Rosenthal who has used this film to advocate for changes in how rape kits and sexual assault cases are handled.

Since graduating from SCA, Rosenthal has been actively promoting Backlog, with notable achievements such as screening at the 2023 Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at the American Pavilion in Cannes. The film has garnered significant recognition, including the DGA Award for Best Student Women Filmmaker, West Coast Division, and selection at 32 film festivals, including the Oscar-Qualifying Cleveland International Film Festival which she won Best Student Short.

Most recently, Rosenthal won the Stage 32 and Catalyst Studios’ Empowering Women Script Competition for Backlog, securing a $5,000 option and eligibility for up to $3 million in financing from Catalyst Studios. This win further solidifies Backlog as a story that needs to be told and provides Rosenthal with the necessary resources to amplify her efforts on a larger scale.

For more information about Rosenthal and Backlog, please visit: