Saving Face

Winner of the Academy Award® for Best Documentary (Short Subject), SAVING FACE is a harshly realistic view of violence against women in South Asia. Every year in Pakistan, many women are known to be victimized by brutal acid attacks, with numerous cases going unreported. Plastic surgeon Dr. Mohammad Jawad left his prominent London practice to return to his home country and help the victims of such attacks. Two of these women, Zakia and Rukhsana, are victims of brutal acid attacks by their husbands and in Rukhsana’s case, her in-laws as well. Both attempt to bring their assailants to justice and move on with their lives with the help of NGOs, sympathetic policymakers, politicians, support groups with other acid attack victims and Dr. Jawad. SAVING FACE also depicts a Pakistan that is changing - one where ordinary people can stand up and make a difference and where marginalized communities can seek justice.
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Made in India: A Film about Surrogacy

In San Antonio, Lisa and Brian Switzer risk their savings with a Medical Tourism company promising them an affordable solution after seven years of infertility. Halfway around the world in Mumbai, 27-year-old Aasia Khan, mother of three, contracts with a fertility clinic to be implanted with the Texas couple’s embryos. MADE IN INDIA, about real people involved in international surrogacy, follows the Switzers and Aasia through every stage of the process. With its dual focus, this emotionally charged, thoroughly absorbing film charts obstacles faced by the Switzers and presents intimate insights into Aasia’s circumstances and motivation. As their stories become increasingly intertwined, the bigger picture behind offshore outsourcing of pregnancies—a booming, unregulated reproductive industry valued at $450 million in India alone—begins to emerge. So do revealing questions about international surrogacy’s legal and ethical implications, global corporate practices, human and reproductive rights, and commodification of the body.
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Africa Rising

Every day, 6,000 girls from the Horn of Africa to sub-Saharan nations are subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM). With fierce determination and deep love for their communities, brave African activists are leading a formidable, fearless grassroots movement to end 5,000 years of FGM. An insightful look at the frontlines of a quiet revolution taking the continent by storm, this extraordinarily powerful film is one of the first to focus on African solutions to FGM. Beautifully directed by Emmy Award® winner Paula Heredia and produced by Equality Now, AFRICA RISING travels through remote villages in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, Somalia and Tanzania. Weaving together dynamic footage and the poignant stories of girls personally affected by FGM, it shows how African women and men are putting an end to this human rights violation. Convincing circumcisers to lay down their knives, engaging the police to implement the law, and honing leadership skills in girls, these determined activists have been working tirelessly for years to conceptualize their campaign. AFRICA RISING paints an intimate portrait of the broadly-based but little-known anti-FGM movement and shows that courageous, creative and resourceful individuals can change the course of history.
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Mrs. Goundo's Daughter

Mrs. Goundo is fighting to remain in the United States. But it’s not just because of the ethnic conflict and drought that has plagued her native Mali. Threatened with deportation, her two-year-old daughter could be forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), like 85 percent of women and girls in Mali. Using rarely cited grounds for political asylum, Goundo must convince an immigration judge that her daughter is in danger. Sensitive and moving, this important film reveals how women are profoundly affected by the legal struggles surrounding immigration. As issues of asylum, international law and human rights collide with FGM and its devastating health consequences, filmmakers Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater travel between an FGM ceremony in a Malian village, where dozens of girls are involved, to the West African expatriate community of Philadelphia, where Mrs. Goundo challenges beliefs and battles the American legal system for her child’s future.
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Middle of Everywhere

South Dakota is America’s heartland—waving cornfields, hard-working farmers, family values and a population of 750,000, the majority of whom identify as conservative and anti-abortion. Native daughter Rebecca Lee returns home in 2006 on the brink of a historic state vote: House Bill 1215 could make South Dakota the first state to outlaw most abortions since Roe vs. Wade passed almost 30 years earlier. In The Middle of Everywhere, Lee discovers the debate to be complex, with both sides claiming compassion for women and the same desire to stop the need for abortion. When 1215 fails to pass, Lee sets out to uncover what would make a self-proclaimed pro-life state vote against the very measure that would end most legal abortions. South Dakotans appear conflicted in their beliefs: passing the Pharmacist Refusal Law, allowing pharmacists and doctors the right not to dispense birth control if doing so goes against their religious views, yet voting along pro-choice lines to keep abortion safe and legal. Was the vote a simple misunderstanding of what it means to be pro-choice? Was it a deeply-held resentment against government intrusion into people’s private lives? Whatever the final reason, The Middle of Everywhere reveals that the issue goes beyond the simple choices of being for or against abortion to the much deeper question of what values we hold dear as Americans and as humans beings.
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Black and White

BLACK AND WHITE shines a sensitive light on a subject that is too often either shunned or sensationalized: the experiences of intersex people (sometimes called hermaphrodites). This beautiful and stylish film artfully explores the potent creative collaboration between Mani Bruce Mitchell and the acclaimed photographer Rebecca Swan. Portrayed through this lens, Mitchell’s story introduces viewers to notions of fluid gender identity, challenging the rigid categories of “male” and “female.” At birth Mitchell was assigned the gender “male” but when investigative surgery subsequently revealed that “he” had ovaries, “Bruce” was renamed “Ruth” and reassigned the gender “female.” BLACK AND WHITE picks up on Mitchell’s story in 2005, weaving together her unflinching yet unexpectedly humorous insights, along with Swan’s descriptions of their creative collaboration on a book about gender identity. Documenting the way Mitchell boldly expresses her own intersex identity through the medium of art, the film challenges the viewer to see Mitchell for who s/he is. Combining intimate, present-day interviews with rich archival slides, photographs and film footage, as well as playful fragments of Super-8 stop-motion animation, BLACK AND WHITE is a stunning tribute to Mitchell’s courage and fierce commitment to change.
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The Day I Will Never Forget

THE DAY I WILL NEVER FORGET is a gripping feature documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Kim Longinotto that examines the practice of female genital mutilation in Kenya and the pioneering African women who are bravely reversing the tradition. In this epic work, women speak candidly about the practice and explain its cultural significance within Kenyan society. From gripping testimonials by young women who share the painful aftermath of their trauma to interviews with elderly matriarchs who stubbornly stand behind the practice, Longinotto paints a complex portrait of the current polemics and conflicts that have allowed this procedure to exist well into modern times. Demystifying the African tradition of female circumcision, Longinotto presents Nurse Fardhosa, a woman who is single-handedly reversing the ritual of female circumcision one village at a time by educating communities about its lasting emotional and physical scars. Also profiled are an inspiring group of runaway girls who are seeking a court injunction to stop their parents from forcing them to go through with the practice. Through their words the full implications of breaking with tradition are made clear, as is the incredible courage of the women and girls who risk social ostracism by taking a stand against the practice.
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Sir: Just a Normal Guy

Screened to acclaim at Gay & Lesbian Film Festivals worldwide and LBGT events across the nation, this candid and courageous portrait of more than 15-months in the female-to-male (FTM) transition of Jay Snider explores both the emotional and physical changes of this profound experience--beginning prior to hormones and concluding after top surgery. Footage shot before and after the surgery captures dramatic physical transitions, while intimate interviews with Jay, his ex-husband, his best friend and his lesbian-identified partner aptly capture the emotional and psychological shifts that occur during the process. With support from those closest to him, Jay’s experience is remarkably positive, though not without conflict. During the course of the film, he renews long-distant ties with his brother, but also faces permanent estrangement from his parents. SIR is an in-depth and humanizing exploration of the challenges, discrimination, and alienation faced by transsexuals. Jay’s conflicted feelings around queer identification are portrayed along with his significant other’s continued identification as lesbian. A much-needed look at FTM transition, the film demonstrates both the fluidity of sexual identification and that love and human resilience can triumph over deep-rooted differences.
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A Healthy Baby Girl

In 1963 filmmaker Judith Helfand's mother was prescribed the ineffective, carcinogenic synthetic hormone diethylstilbestrol (DES), meant to prevent miscarriage and ensure a healthy baby. At twenty-five, Judith was diagnosed with DES-related cervical cancer. After a radical hysterectomy she went to her family's home to heal and picked up her camera. The resulting video-diary is a fascinating exploration of how science, marketing and corporate power can affect our deepest relationships. Shot over five years, A HEALTHY BABY GIRL tells a story of survival, mother-daughter love, family renewal, and community activism. Intimate, humorous, and searing, it is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the relationship between women's health, public policy, medical ethics and corporate responsibility. A HEALTHY BABY GIRL was funded by the Independent Television Service (ITVS) with funds provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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Something Like a War

SOMETHING LIKE A WAR is a chilling examination of India’s family planning program from the point of view of the women who are its primary targets. It traces the history of the family planning program and exposes the cynicism, corruption and brutality which characterizes its implementation. As the women themselves discuss their status, sexuality, fertility control and health, it is clear that their perceptions are in conflict with those of the program. SOMETHING LIKE A WAR is an excellent resource for the study of international development and aid, population control, reproductive rights, health and women.
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