A Thousand Girls Like Me

A THOUSAND GIRLS LIKE ME is an awe-inspiring vérité documentary that tells the story of a young Afghan woman’s brave fight to seek justice and protect her children after experiencing years of abuse at the hands of her father. Khatera Golzad’s father physically and sexually abused her for more than thirteen years, and after several aborted pregnancies, she gave birth to a daughter and a son. Despite her many attempts to file charges, neither the Afghan police nor the legal system helped her. In 2014, she appeared on national television to publicly accuse her father, finally succeeding in bringing her case to court despite threats from male relatives and judges who labelled her a liar. Shedding light on the broken Afghan judicial system and the women it seldom protects, A THOUSAND GIRLS LIKE ME is the story of one woman’s battle against cultural, familial, and legal pressures as she embarks on a mission to set a positive example for her daughter and other girls like her. In a country where the systematic abuse of girls is rarely discussed, Afghan filmmaker Sahra Mani’s film is ultimately a story of bravery, love, hope and resilience.
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Primas

PRIMAS is an evocative and poetic portrait of two Argentine teenage cousins who come of age together as they overcome the heinous acts of violence that interrupted their childhoods. When Rocío was 10 years old, she was dragged from her bike by a stranger, raped, set on fire and left for dead. Now a teenager, she still grapples with memories of the nightmarish assault that left her body scarred. Together with her cousin Aldana, who was sexually abused for years by her own father, she lives, laughs and shares her story. Traveling through Argentina and Montreal, the two cousins embark upon a program of theater, dance, and circus that helps them process complex emotions. Little by little, they manage to rebuild the lives that were so brutally stolen from them and free themselves from the shadows of their past. A humanistic exploration of familial love, creativity, and courage in the wake of sexual violence, PRIMAS is a moving tribute to the deep strength of resilient women.
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In the Name of the Family

Schoolgirl Aqsa Parvez, sisters Amina and Sarah Said, and college student Fauzia Muhammad were all North American teenagers—and victims of premeditated, murderous attacks by male family members. Only Muhammad survived. Emmy® winner Shelley Saywell examines each case in depth in this riveting investigation of "honor killings" of girls in Muslim immigrant families. Not sanctioned by Islam, the brutalization and violence against young women for defying male authority derives from ancient tribal notions of honor and family shame. As friends and relatives trace escalating tensions leading to the crimes, IN THE NAME OF THE FAMILY explores community reactions to the tragic events. The film also delves into the dual, precarious existence of other young Muslim women struggling to bridge two worlds, along with Muslim women’s efforts to help girls at special risk. With consummate documentary skills and a passion for human rights, Saywell puts a much needed human face on a subject that is all too often silenced or sensationalized in post-9/11 North America.
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Quest for Honor

A searing and necessary documentary, QUEST FOR HONOR, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was shortlisted for an Academy® Award nomination for Feature Documentary, investigates the still prevalent practice of honor killing in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. The alarming rise in the heinous act of men killing daughters, sisters and wives who threaten “family honor,” endangers tens of thousands of women in Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and adjoining countries. The Women’s Media Center of Suleymaniyah, Iraq, has joined forces with Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) to end this practice. The film follows Runak Faranj, a former teacher and tireless activist, as she works with local lawmen, journalists and members of the KRG to solve the murder of a widowed young mother, protect the victim of a safe-house shooting, eradicate honor killing and redefine honor. This is essential viewing for Muslim and Islamic studies, Middle Eastern studies, and human rights courses.
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Rough Aunties

Fearless, feisty and resolute, the “Rough Aunties” are a remarkable group of women unwavering in their stand to protect and care for the abused, neglected and forgotten children of Durban, South Africa. This documentary by internationally acclaimed director Kim Longinotto (SISTERS IN LAW, DIVORCE IRANIAN STYLE) follows the outspoken, multiracial cadre of Thuli, Mildred, Sdudla, Eureka and Jackie, as they wage a daily battle against systemic apathy, corruption, and greed to help the most vulnerable and disenfranchised of their communities. Despite the harsh realities of violence, poverty, and racism in the women’s work at the Bobbi Bear child welfare organization and in the heartaches of their personal lives, the portraits that emerge on screen are filled with grace, wisdom, friendship, and a deeply stirring conviction. Neither politics, nor social or racial divisions stand a chance against the united force of the women. Once again Longinotto has managed to bring us an intimate portrait of change from Africa, this time from post-apartheid South Africa, a nation being transformed with hope and energy into a new democracy.
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Sisters in Law

Winner of the Prix Art et Essai at the Cannes Film Festival and screened to acclaim at more than 120 festivals around the world, SISTERS IN LAW is the bestselling documentary from internationally renowned director Kim Longinotto, co-directed by Florence Ayisi. In the little town of Kumba, Cameroon, there have been no convictions in spousal abuse cases for 17 years. But two women determined to change their community are making progress that could change their country. This fascinating, often hilarious doc follows the work of State Prosecutor Vera Ngassa and Court President Beatrice Ntuba as they help women fight often-difficult cases of abuse, despite pressures from family and their community to remain silent. Six-year-old Manka is covered in scars and has run away from an abusive aunt, Amina is seeking a divorce to put an end to brutal beatings by her husband, the pre-teen Sonita has daringly accused her neighbor of rape. With fierce compassion, the two feisty and progressive-minded women dispense wisdom, wisecracks and justice in fair measure, handing down stiff sentences to those convicted. A cross between “Judge Judy” and “The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency,” SISTERS IN LAW has audiences cheering when justice is served.
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Runaway

“RUNAWAY is a powerful and heart-breaking documentary about a group of young runaway girls who are taken to a women's shelter in Tehran, Iran. The film focuses on the sufferings of young girls who struggle to free themselves from the tyrannical and abusive power of their families, mainly their fathers, brothers, and stepfathers. The sisterly feelings of the girls towards each other, their spiritual strength, their courage to rebel, and their wit are shown with a great degree of compassion and empathy in the film. The filmmakers have beautifully criticized the patriarchal system of family and the destructive power of male family members over the lives of their daughters and sisters. One can imagine that the issue of confinement and abuse goes beyond the issue of class when it comes to the problem of domestic violence and the desire to control women through anger, aggression and madness.” - Mehrnaz Saeed, Colombia College Chicago
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Macho

In 1998, Managua, Nicaragua became host to one of the most publicized and controversial cases of sexual abuse to hit modern day Latin America. At the epicenter of the scandal stood none other than Nicaraguan Sandinista leader and ex-President Daniel Ortega. Revered as a revolutionary hero and symbol of military strength, Ortega was accused on multiple charges of rape and battery by his stepdaughter, Soilamerica Narvaez. Despite Ortega's eventual acquittall--he was granted immunity from prosecution as a member of the legislature--a group of pioneering men rallied around the episode to organize a radical campaign against domestic violence and sexual abuse. Their efforts eventually led to the formation of the internationally acclaimed organization, Men Against Violence. MACHO, a film by Lucinda Broadbent, provides an in-depth profile of Men Against Violence and its ground-breaking work towards eliminating attitudes of male chauvinism (known as machismo in Spanish) that have perpetuated violent acts against women in Nicaragua and Latin America. The film strongly demonstrates that despite living in one of the most destitute countries in Latin America, this group has succeeded in providing a model that is used by men worldwide to discuss issues of violence and advocate for the rights of women. MACHO offers a rare glimpse at the methods used by Men Against Violence to discuss the abuse of power and the damage it causes families and communities. It also is a powerful film that challenges assumptions about "machismo" and its continued application to Latino culture. In the end, MACHO demonstrates that violence against women and sexual abuse is a worldwide epidemic that needs to be addressed by all men in every country.
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Blind Spot: Murder by Women

Because murder by women is still relatively rare--only one out of eight murders in the United States is committed by a woman--women's own stories provide unique insights into the circumstances leading to these violent acts. In this absorbing documentary, intimate one-on-one interviews with six women murderers are combined with re-enactments of their background experience and visual re-creations of their interior lives. Sharing and reflecting on their memories, fantasies, dreams, and anger, the six women candidly describe their actions as perpetrators in detail and address the issue of having taken a life. Interspersed between their separate stories are their individual reflections on coping strategies, and life and relationships in prison. From the Academy and Emmy-award winning filmmakers responsible for DIALOGUES WITH MADWOMEN, BLIND SPOT is a provocative and riveting encounter with throw-away children, out-of-control adults, and the emotional, psychological and spiritual consequences of murder.
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The Children We Sacrifice

Shot in India, Sri Lanka, Canada and the United States, and screened in 18 countries, this evocative, visually powerful documentary is about incestuous sexual abuse of the South Asian girl child. By interweaving survivors' narratives, including the producer's own story, with interviews with South Asian mental health professionals, and with statistical information, as well as poetry and art, THE CHILDREN WE SACRIFICE discloses the many layers of a subject traditionally shrouded in secrecy. Insights into the far-reaching psychological, social and cultural consequences of incest are accompanied by thoughtful assessments of strategies that have helped adult women cope with childhood trauma. The film also analyzes social and cultural resistance in South Asia and the Diaspora to dealing with incest's causes and its effects on its victims. This personal and collective letter from South Asian incest survivors and their advocates is both a validation of their struggle and a compelling charge to protect future generations of children better.
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2 Or 3 Things But Nothing for Sure

Acclaimed author Dorothy Allison (BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA) is profiled in this moving, inspiring film. Combining poetic imagery with powerful readings, it evokes Allison's childhood in the poor white American South of the 1950's, her birth as a writer and feminist, and her coming to terms with a family legacy of incest and abuse. A beautifully realized portrait of an artist and survivor, this stirring film provides important insights into the roots of self-renewal and creativity.
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What My Mother Told Me

Exquisitely beautiful and profoundly moving, WHAT MY MOTHER TOLD ME is a dramatic journey towards self discovery. The story focuses on Jesse, a young woman from England, who goes to Trinidad to bury her father. Reluctantly she agrees to meet her mother, whom she thought had abandoned her when she was a child. Her mother tells her stories, revealing a troubled and violent marriage, and Jesse is forced to face the truth about her past. WHAT MY MOTHER TOLD ME cleverly evokes complex connections between history, memory, violence and cultural identity.
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