Finding Women’s Strength

The arc of an abusive relationship can be a long one, and no one knows that better than the domestic violence survivor advocates at The Retreat in East Hampton.

On Thursday, July 18, The Retreat is taking over East Hampton’s Guild Hall for a special screening of the new film “Donna: Stronger Than Pretty,” with a special talk with filmmaker Jaret Martino.

The evening begins at 7 p.m. General admission tickets are $60, and sponsorships range from $250 to $2,500. Tickets are available online here.

“Donna: Stronger Than Pretty” is a romantic tragedy — an unlove story — that spans three decades in the life of a gentle young woman, Donna, as she tries to live up to the traditions and expectations of her Italian roots and the American Dream. That dream becomes a living nightmare and nearly breaks her, until she finds the silent force of her inner voice. 

The film follows Donna on her journey to break free from a husband who refuses to be responsible for her, his children, or his own actions.

As Donna works to maintain stability and security for her kids, in spite of their father, she is able to redefine her own dreams and graduate from college, something that she had pushed aside to start a family, like the good girls of her era were expected to do. 

The film is based on producer and co-writer Jaret Martino’s mother’s experience raising her family in the 1970s.

“As an artist, I create projects that make a difference in the world and shed light on subject matters deserving of more attention from society and the filmmaking community,” said Mr. Martino. “In particular, I am compelled to tell stories where women are the heroes who save themselves. Stronger Than Pretty is an empowering film about the journey of a woman finding her voice. Women often must fight for social and economic equality. This was my mother’s reality and the inspiration of ‘Stronger Than Pretty.’”

The film features actress Kate Amundsen (Shameless, Westworld, The Mindy Project) and co-stars indie film actor Anthony Ficco (Drifter, Prodigal). The screenplay was co-written by Jaret Martino and award-winning writer Pat Branch.

Following the screening at Guild Hall, a panel of survivors will answer questions and tell their personal stories. 

Domestic violence is a private tragedy that crosses all socio-economic lines and affects all genders and all ages. The advocates at The Retreat believe it’s time to get real about abuse and talk about it openly.

Following the film and panel discussion, a cocktail reception with the filmmaker, cast and crew and survivors will take place in the Guild Hall Garden.

For more information about The Retreat’s work, visit or call 631.329.4398. Their 24 Hour Crisis Hotline is at 631.329.2200.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

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