It’s thrilling: The documentary “Girl Rising.”
We could use some good news on this International Women’s Day. This has got to change, we say to ourselves as we come upon accounts of crushing discrimination against women around the world. But the force of culture and tradition is mighty and enduring; we wonder how women will ever become free of this ancient burden.
Here’s some bracing—in fact, thrilling—news from the nonprofit 10 x 10 Fund for Girls’ Education, producer of the new documentary Girl Rising. “One girl with courage is a revolution,” affirms the trailer, and the documentary proceeds to follow the stories of nine fiercely brave girls from nine countries—India, Nepal, Egypt, Peru, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti, Ethiopia, and Sierra Leone. Despite staggering cultural and financial odds, these girls are insisting on getting an education—their only hope for a livable income and respect.
There’s 13-year-old Azmera in Ethiopia, who dared to say no to marriage at 13. There’s orphan Sokha in Cambodia, who manages to go to school despite having to pick through garbage dumps to survive. There’s Suma, the Nepali girl forced into bonded labor at age 6, who uses her education to free other girls.
They say, variously, “I am change”; “I am my own master now”; “ I feel as though I have power”; “Even if you stop me, there will be other girls who rise up and take my place.” The film—directed by Academy Award nominee Richard Robbins and written by nine noted local writers, including Edwidge Danticat—is narrated by nine prominent actresses, including Meryl Streep.
This is a limited-distribution film that you won’t get a chance to see—unless you help bring it to your local movie theater. To request a Girl Rising screening in your neighborhood (or, if you’re a teacher, in your school), click here. Scroll down to Attend a Screening and put in your Zip Code. If someone has already requested a screening, you can add your name to the supporters and reserve a $15 ticket. If you are the first in your neighborhood to suggest a theater, you can sign up to be a Movie Captain, who pledges to help fill the house by promoting the film by email, social media, and partnering with community organizations, and who will also introduce the film. When the theater’s required minimum number of reservations has been reached, the request “tips” and the film will be shown in your nabe.
All these girls, as brave as Malala . . . they give us hope.