One of Ashton’s recent self-portrait works, entitled Entropy
My 15 year old daughter, Ashton, has been very dedicated to her photography and photo editing, and now is interested in telling stories through film.
So she and I are launching a collaborative project together. We are both fascinated by the concepts of identity and self-discovery.
Too many of us spend our lives doubting ourselves and trying to emulate what we think others want us to be.
We are excited to announce the Just Be You Project, a mini-documentary and portrait series that highlights inspirational people who have discovered who they are, and who inspire us to take our own unique path in life.
The Just Be You Project is an open forum where we welcome you to share your stories, videos and photos that capture how you Just Be You. Join us and add your voice on the Just be You Project Facebook group. Or post, tweet, instogram, etc., your contribution using the hashtag #justbeyouproject.
If we can’t love ourselves for who we are, how can we love others and heal the world?
Introducing the first episode of the Just Be You Project mini-documentary series, please enjoy Dancing Man.
Do you need a high quality, story-driven and cinematic, promotional, educational or mobilization video for your business, product or cause? As my film project continues to slowly move forward, I am in a position to take a few select freelance projects.
I have helped nearly 150 regional, national and international organizations tell their stories over the past 20 years, and can leverage that experience behind your project– from conceptualization to completion.
I Will Tell is a growing film festival which takes place in the heart of London every year from 30th August to 9th September since 2005. This year the festival celebrated its 8th year with the theme THE ‘R’ THING, on Relationships, with screenings of over 30 international films, inspirational post-screening discussions and festival activities all on the theme Relationship.
The festival’s Closing Gala was a Tribute screening to Dr Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014) followed by an inaugural awards ceremony where they announce the Best Drama, Best Documentary, Best Short Film, Best Animation and the Audience Award for I Will Tell 2014.
Best Documentary was awarded to It’s a Girl for “its in-depth exposé of a deeply harrowing subject, which a sensitive portrayal of its subjects together with an enlightened look at a complex issue created a powerful documentary that inspires and motivates.” http://www.iwilltell.com/pr.html
I joined in via Skype to receive the award. We are so very honored to receive this award and are grateful to the I Will Tell team for selecting It’s a Girl for Best Documentary!
How do we as people of faith advocate for justice and gender equality in the face of deeply established global misogyny? We have to start with respect for other cultures and a desire to support and empower culture-changers to impact their own culture on their own terms. Check out my recent talk on the World War on Women at the International Wholistic Missions Conference.
Exciting news: It’s a Girl was recently featured as one of “12 Mind-Blowing Documentaries to Watch on Netflix” by The Huffington Post!
The article says, “This upsetting look at “gendercide” in India and China encounters the devaluation of females and the extent to which it has led to infanticide and violence toward women. In case you needed further warning as to precisely how grave this situation has become: the film opens with a woman who has given birth to and subsequently murdered eight of her daughters.”
If you haven’t seen It’s a Girl yet, catch it on DVD, iTunes, Netflix, or Hulu, and let me know what you think!
I and the team just returned from filming in Tanzania and Uganda, where we experienced every filmmaker’s nightmare! The trip was a gold mine of amazing footage and stories. We had wrapped up filming on the last day in Kampala when our vehicle was robbed and all of my equipment, including the hard drives with all of the footage we captured during our two weeks in Africa was taken.
The irony is that I was watching the vehicle when it happened. The thieves parked on the opposite side of the Land Cruiser, broke the lock on the driver’s door and took the bags from the back through the side doors. The dark tint prevented us from knowing we were being robbed until too late.
On My Way to Africa!
Great news! I will be traveling to Africa in early April to spend a couple of weeks scouting some possible stories for the new film.
According to the World Health Organization, about 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of Female Genital Mutilation. In Africa, an estimated 101 million girls ten years old and above have suffered this brutal non-medical procedure believed to reduce a woman’s libido and ensure premarital virginity and marital fidelity.
And 42% of marriages in Africa involve child brides, or girls under the age of 18. Child brides are the victims of cultural “norms” that turn a blind-eye to the unspeakable sexual exploitation and rape of little girls made legal through marriage. Neither physically nor emotionally ready to become wives and mothers, these girls are at far greater risk of experiencing dangerous complications in pregnancy and childbirth, becoming infected with HIV/AIDS and suffering domestic violence. With little access to education and economic opportunities, they and their families are more likely to live in poverty.
I will have more for you about the developing stories in Africa after I return. To learn more about this exciting new project, click here.
Thanks again for you generous support and encouragement! I couldn’t do it without you!
I am so grateful for the thousands of you who joined us this year in fighting gendercide globally. Since the film was released last year, it has screened over 500 times globally, has been broadcast on television in India, Ireland, Nigeria, Poland, New Zealand, and reached thousands more through our DVD and iTunes release this year.
As we wrap up the year, we want to highlight some of the campaign’s greatest achievements that were made possible by YOU:
January 15 – Music Video Released: We announced the release of Omékongo Dibinga’s music video inspired by It’s a Girl! Omékongo’s video brought greater attention to the global issue of gendercide and still continues to make an impact!
March 8 – International Women’s Day: Eighteen groups around the globe brought respect to women and girls by celebrating International Women’s Day with a screening of It’s a Girl during this week!
March 4-9 – UN Commission on the Status of Women: It’s a Girl screened several times during the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) in New York! Governmental leaders around the world met for this event known as the primary policy-making body on the planet when it comes to gender equality and women’s rights. The theme this year was the elimination of violence against women and girls.
Widows throw flowers into the air during a holi celebration at the Meera Sahavagini ashram in Vrindavan in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
Clouds of brightly colored powders and the fragrance of flowers filled the air as the people of India gathered in the streets to welcome yet another springtime to their country. But for the widows of Vrindavan, the 2013 Holi Festival signified the end of a bleak, centuries-long winter.
For generations, widows in India have suffered mistreatment and oppression. Up until the eighteenth century, it was commonly expected that a widow should burn herself to death on her husband’s funeral pyre. Today, this practice of sati is illegal, however in its place, thousands of widows are sentenced to a living death.
Through strict codes of dress and behavior, many widows find themselves dehumanized and ostracized from their communities. The rules are the same regardless of the widow’s age, and with the practice of child marriage still alive, many widows are quite young, even still in their childhoods. No longer considered a “her,” but an “it,” a widow is no longer allowed any personal display of feminine beauty. She must dress only in white, the color of mourning, and is not allowed to wear any adornment such as jewelry. She may even be required to shave her head. Considered a burden by her relatives and stigmatized in the community as bad luck, a widow is often abandoned by her family, shunned by society, and sentenced to a reclusive life of poverty.
New York Times reporter Celia Dugger reports from West Africa on progress in community-based efforts to eradicate female genital cutting.
“Men couldn’t hear the girl’s screams,” states Bassi Boiro, the elderly woman responsible for mutilating generations of young girls in Sare Harouna, Senegal. Describing the procedure performed under cover of darkness outside the boundaries of her West African village, Boiro explains that men “are not part of this.” Assisted by four women tasked with holding down the arms and legs of each frightened victim, Boiro used a knife passed down through her family and later razor blades to carry out the ancient cultural tradition of female genital mutilation (FGM). One such victim of this practice is Aissatou Kande, one of the estimated 140 million women and girls around the world living with the painful consequences of FGM. Africa is currently home to over two-thirds of the world’s victims of FGM, a custom which is also practiced in the Middle East and Asia and is increasing in Europe and North America as immigrants bring the tradition into their new homelands.