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Women's Rights at Risk: Telling Their Untold Stories

Event Date:

April 8, 2011 | 5:00 PM EDT TO 6:30 PM EDT
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Every January, 83-year-old Olga Murray of northern California goes to southwestern Nepal for the...

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Multiple Authors
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Time-Life building, 1271 Avenue of Americas (at 51st), 8th floor auditorium.
Rockefeller Center stops at B, D, F, M
RSVP: [email protected]

Part of The City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Journalism's first annual Global Film Series, "The World Through Women's Eyes," on April 7-8. See full schedule and learn more about the Festival.

A series of short films by Pulitzer Center journalists will be followed by a Q&A with the makers, and moderated by Pulitzer Center executive director Jon Sawyer.

Following the panel, there will be a reception and screening of the film PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL, directed by Gini Reticker.

The Program: Women's Rights at Risk: Telling Their Untold Stories
Countries with underdeveloped economies, environments at risk or populations at war face countless difficulties, but stories of the particular misery faced by women under these circumstances are too often overlooked. These short films, produced in collaboration with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, put a human face on the challenges many women confront: sexual violence in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo, maternal health in Nigeria and beyond, and indentured servitude in Nepal. Pulitzer Center executive director Jon Sawyer moderates a panel with filmmakers Dawn Shapiro, Lisa Armstrong, Andre Lamberston, and Marcus Bleasdale on how to draw attention to these critical issues through quality reporting, creative presentations and sustained focus.

The Films:

The Edge of Joy [excerpt], by Dawn Shapiro (Nigeria) RT: 12 minutes

This documentary follows an ensemble cast of Nigerian doctors, midwives and families to the frontlines of maternal care. Inside a maternity ward, the film chronicles distressed labors, deaths, and miraculous survival. Outside, lack of blood supply transportation and family planning are examined as causes of the cycle that kills more than 36,000 Nigerian women each year. The central characters in The Edge of Joy are the people deep within the Nigerian culture who know its misconceptions, its limitations, but also its capabilities. Narrated by award winning journalist, Eliza Griswold, and featuring animation by Yoni Goodman, this portrait of pregnancy and childbirth shows the consequences of poor maternal health as it explores the nuances and complexities of bringing emerging health technologies to the developing world.

Olga's Girls: The Indentured Daughters of Nepal, by Meredith May and Carlos Avila Gonzalez (Nepal) RT: 7:30

This short film presents one of the saddest measures of poverty in western Nepal, the selling of young girls to be domestic slaves, or Kamlaris, by parents too poor to feed their children. Some of these girls are as young as 6-years-old. For many of these Kamlaris, the lives they lead in their employers homes are filled with abuse, both physical and mental. Olga Murray of Sausalito California, has dedicated her life to helping Nepalese youth and found that the way to end this Kamlari system was to help the families out financially, treating the cause of the problem directly. Since her projects inception, Murray and her charity have saved over 4000 girls from slavery, many of whom have gone on to receive educations and become successful businesswomen after being trained in vocational programs. Produced as part of a print and multimedia series for the San Francisco Chronicle.

One Voice One Thousand Children: Girls of War, by Marcus Bleasdale (Congo) RT: 3:07

Part two of a two-part series produced for VII Magazine. Recently the Obama administration continued military aid to four countries known for their use of Child Soldiers, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Yemen and Southern Sudan by issuing a waiver to the Child Soldiers Prevention Act. In a memorandum to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, President Obama said he had determined that the waiver was in "the national interest." This video presents photographic portraits of young girls who were conscripted, raped and forced into marriage by army commanders of the Lord's Resistance Army. A single voice narrates us through her personal experiences but represents thousands of young girls who have had similar experiences. This video is part of an in-depth investigation into the impact of the Lord's Resistance Army. The reporting has been featured in the Economist, Foreign Policy, Newsweek, Al Jazeera English and the Human Rights Watch site.

Dear Obama, by Marcus Bleasdale (Congo) RT: 4:30

Since September 2008, at least 2,000 civilians have been killed and nearly 3,000 others have been abducted during attacks by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA, a Ugandan rebel group, operates in the border region between northern Congo, the Central African Republic and south Sudan. Many of the victims, including women and children, were beaten to death, raped, had their skulls crushed or their heads sliced with machetes. On May 24, 2010, President Obama signed into law legislation committing the U.S. government to develop within 180 days a comprehensive, multilateral strategy to protect civilians in central Africa from LRA attacks, and take steps to permanently stop the violence. In this video, produced by Human Rights Watch, victims of the LRA call upon US President Barack Obama for urgent and decisive action.

Little Girls Lost, by Lisa Armstrong and Andre Lambertson (Haiti) RT: 7:30

Since the earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010, many young girls have turned to prostitution in order to get by. They resort to having sex for food or small amounts of money. This exchange is unwanted but, in their view, the only way to survive. Many were victims of rape, a problem that already existed before the earthquake--the United Nations estimates that almost half of the girls and young women living in slums like Cité Soleil and Martissant had been raped. The video presents an intimate portrait of four young girls who share their personal stories, explaining the circumstances that have led them to where they are today. This video is a part of a year-long reporting project on the aftermath of the earthquake, which has been featured in USA Today, Essence Magazine, NYT Lens, PBS NewsHour, and The Daily Beast.

Mother of Mothers, Video Poem by poet Kwame Dawes and photographer Andre Lamberston (Haiti) RT: 3:15

Part of the special series Voices of Haiti, which features poems inspired by original reporting from Haiti set to photography and music. These video poems present a unique window into the realities faced by Haitians struggling to rebuild their lives. Transcending headlines of the day, they introduce the human face of a tragedy in all its complexity as well as the beauty and resilience of those most affected by it. A selection of the videos have been translated into Kreyol for distribution throughout Haiti.

...In Haiti, the mothers
of mothers have lamented for so
long-all that is left is the
sturdy presence of grace,
the wide open heart of knowing
how much a casket weighs, how
it feels on the open palm...





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