NonFiction Media goes to Singapore for the UNIFEM Film Festival
That’s right! Somebody pinch me! I was invited by UNIFEM (United Nation Development Fund for Women) to present at their Empowering Women Film Festival. Besides presenting at the film festival on Saturday, I will also be showing our film and leading discussions at four different schools tomorrow. I am so excited!
As I was waiting in line at customs tonight I was thinking, this is exactly what I want to be doing right now. I am arriving in a new country I know very little about. I am going to show a film I have worked so hard on and has barely seen the light of day. I get to talk to people for entire weekend about the subject I care about most– girls’ education. And specifically, Shanta and her family. I get to share her story with people I am pretty sure are really going to listen–who really care.
For those of you who don’t know, Shanta was one of the main subjects of Three: Impressions from the Struggle for Girls’ Education. Shanta, who was a powerful force–determined to become a doctor in order to return to her village to teach the girls and women about family planning, committed suicide just over a year ago.
This shocked everyone. Her family, friends, teachers…us.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for women in Nepal ages 14-49. True story. In the last few years, suicide has eclipsed death during childbirth as the #1 cause of death.
Scott and I returned to Nepal this last winter to try to figure out why and to see how her family is doing. It was the biggest experience (and I am fairly certain I can speak for Scott here as well) of our lives. I thought I knew a fair bit about poverty. I would go as far to say I felt I understood it in some intellectual way, at least. Well, staying with Shanta’s family threw me for a loop. But more on that later….
Now I am here in Singapore. I’m here to share our new footage and to begin telling the story of Shanta. Before I left, I had a friend and fellow editor, Dina, look at our latest footage, which is still very new and raw. Her remark afterward as she wiped tears from her eyes was, “Shanta is as powerful dead as she was alive.”
I don’t know if this is what Shanta would have wanted–to have her story told to UNIFEM. But my best guess is, she wouldn’t mind.
I want to thank Debby Ng who is the one who turned UNIFEM on to our work with girls’ education. She is an amazing Singaporean photographer. I met her in Nepal last winter and we pretty much hit it off BIG TIME. She can’t make it to the festival because she is photographing migrating birds. How cools is that?
Oh, here is a picture of my mom seeing me off at the airport–the Voice of Reason!!! (She is currently the mascot for Sound Transit.) I love to see my mom’s size finally match her BIG personality.