This month’s Filmanthropy Project is The People’s Girls. A documentary on sexual harassment in Egypt.
Earlier this month, the filmmakers of The People’s Girls released to the interwebs a short teaser video called “Creepers on the Bridge.” It’s hidden camera footage of what’s it like to be a woman crossing one of the most populated bridges in Cairo. Pretty scary, and yet unfortunately familiar to women everywhere. Those familiar leers are likely why the video went viral, receiving coverage from BuzzFeed to CNN to Cosmo to Der Spiegel! The full documentary will include this footage but focus on three women: Esraa, an activist against sexual harassment, Abdullah, a tuk-tuk driver, and an Egyptian lawyer.
There are three reasons why I thought we should fund and highlight this project. First is this shocking statistic: 99% of women in Egypt have been sexually harassed (UN Women). That’s an insane figure and proof this documentary needs to be made.
Second, we support female filmmakers. Only 28.9% of content creators at Sundance 2013 were women. Women only make up 5% of of the directors in Hollywood. Need more of a reason? Read this Huffington Post article.
Lastly, I chose this project because of the timing. This film fits well into the international discourse that’s currently happening around gender equality, sexual assault, and the role that we all can play in breaking down patriarchy.
The filmmakers are already looking at this film as a tool for change, with the goal of using to serve as “a catalyst for public debate not only in Egypt but internationally, as prominent cases of sexual harassment frequently occur on a global scale.” The film’s title “The People’s Girls” has two meanings and I think both speak the opportunities for an impact through the film. The first meaning is “commonly used to describe a well mannered, cultured, respectable girl. When people blame survivors of sexual harassment, they often argue that if only the girl was “the people’s girl,” then she wouldn’t get harassed.” Screenings of this film in Egypt as well as other Arabic speaking counties will allow men to experience what their mothers, daughters, sisters and friends face on a daily basis and provide opportunities for dialogue between men, with or without women present. The second meaning of the title, “refers to all the girls and women of Egypt.” I believe this film can also be powerful vehicle for conversations about the status of women in Egypt, the similarities and differences of harassment that women across the world experience, allow for personal connections along with prevention workshops and healing support.
They only have 3 days left on their campaign. Trust me, you’ll want to get in on making this film a success. Click here to donate.
By Darcy Heusel, Senior Director of Campaign Strategy (@darcyheusel)
Darcy’s expertise in impact film stretches from social media and online engagement to film marketing and distribution. Her projects at Picture Motion include Fed Up, American Promise, Bully, The Crash Reel, and Herman’s House. Previously, Darcy was the Director of Programming and Marketing at Constellation.tv where she oversaw business development, client relations, social media and digital strategy. While there, she also directed new media events for The Vow, Magic Mike, and films from the Criterion Collection. Prior to Constellation, Darcy was Director of Acquisitions and Marketing at Screen Media Films where she acquired and oversaw distribution (Theatrical, DVD, VOD, Digital and more) and marketing for over 50 films. Darcy serves on the advisory board for the Minority Independent Producers summit and volunteers in her free time with Ghetto Film School NYC. Darcy graduated with a BA in political science and writing from Washington University in St. Louis.