The Hite Report, a groundbreaking study of the intimate experiences of women, remains one of the bestselling books of all time since its publication in 1976. Drawn from anonymous survey responses, the book challenged restrictive conceptions of sex and opened a dialogue in popular culture around women’s pleasure. Its charismatic author, Shere Hite, a feminist sex researcher and former model, became the public messenger of women’s secret confessions. With each subsequent bestseller, she engaged television titans in unforgettably explicit debates about sexuality while suffering the backlash her controversial findings provoked. But few remember Shere Hite today. What led to her erasure? Digging into exclusive archives, as well as Hite’s personal journals and the original survey responses, filmmaker Nicole Newnham (Crip Camp, The Revolutionary Optimists) transports viewers back to a time of great societal transformation around sexuality. Her revelatory portrait is a re-discovery of a pioneer who has had an unmistakable influence on current conversations about gender, sexuality, and bodily autonomy, as well as a timely, cautionary tale of what too often happens to women who dare speak out.
About the filmmaker – Nicole Newnham is an Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning documentary producer and director, five-time Sundance Film Festival alumnus and six-time Emmy nominee. She most recently directed The Disappearance of Shere Hite, which premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and will be released by IFC films this fall, and two episodes of the Emmy-nominated ESPN landmark Title-1X series 37 Words. Nicole co-directed and produced the 2021 Academy Award-nominated documentary Crip Camp with Jim LeBrecht. The film won the 2020 Sundance Audience Award, the IDA Best Feature Documentary Award, the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Feature, and a Peabody. Nicole has produced two virtual reality films with artist/director Lynette Wallworth that have each won an Emmy for Outstanding New Approaches to Documentary: the breakthrough VR work Collisions (2017) and Awavena (2019). Both films premiered at Sundance New Frontiers and were featured in installation form at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Nicole’s other acclaimed documentaries include, the Emmy-nominated films The Revolutionary Optimists, Sentenced Home and The Rape of Europa. A graduate of Oberlin College and Stanford University’s documentary film graduate program, Nicole lives in Berkeley, CA with her husband, Tom Malarkey, and sons Finn and Blaine.
“The documentary traces the major events of Hite’s career, marking the importance of her conclusions… as well as the emotional toll constantly defending her work took as her challengers attacked not only the integrity of her research, but her personally.”– Sarah Gopaul, Digital Journal
“[An] absorbing portrait of a complex, at times contradictory woman – shy and flamboyant, unyielding and wounded, a truth-seeker who deserves resurged acknowledgement.” – The Guardian, Adrian Horton
“Combining the delights of an eccentric character study with the tension of a thrilling investigation, “The Disappearance of Shere Hite” restores a forgotten trailblazer in sexuality studies to her rightful place in feminist history.” – Jude Dry, indieWire
“This film speaks with a fiery spark that should empower generations of viewers who share Hite’s hunger for change. And if it irks another generation of men unwilling to accept progress, then so much the better.” – Pat Mullen, POV Magazine
“You are not alone if you simply can’t stop asking yourself, “How on earth did I not know about this woman before?” – Variety, Jessica Kiang