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CREATING4CHANGE will tell the story of incredible women working to improve the lives of women and girls around the world. And they’re using their art to do it.
From a graffiti artist in the favelas of Brazil raising awareness about violence against women, to a choreographer in India using dance to rehabilitate victims of human trafficking, this film will profile women who have found innovative ways to use their art to tackle the most pressing issues facing the women in their communities.
The feature-length documentary will showcase artists who are working with leaders in government, philanthropy, technology, public health and education to create positive change. The project has been designed to raise awareness about women’s rights in the U.S. and abroad, and to celebrate creative, entrepreneurial, and arts-therapy based solutions to the most pressing challenges facing women globally.
Creating4Change has partnered with PBS Detroit (Detroit Public Television, WTVS), a non-profit organization, which will serve as the presenting station for the film. Creating4Change will receive national visibility via showings on the network of PBS stations and international visibility at film festivals and community screenings hosted by Creating4Change outreach and education partners.
THE NEED FOR CREATING4CHANGE
At least one in three women are victims of violence worldwide. It is the most pervasive human rights violation on earth – present in every country, every culture, every religion, and every class. It is also the leading cause of death in women between the ages of 19 and 44, greater than malaria and automobile accidents combined.
Nowhere in the world do women share equal social and economic rights with men, and this has had a profound effect on international development. One of the best ways to reduce rates of violence against women and extreme poverty, improve child and maternal health, and increase access to a quality education for boys and girls is to empower women socially and economically.
However, only a small percentage of international development funds are directly targeted towards projects that support women and girls. Increasingly, leaders in government, education, public health and economic-development will need to think creatively to find cost-effective and sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges facing women and girls.
One of the best strategies for igniting social change, and encouraging healing is through the creative arts, and expressive arts therapies. Creating4Change will shine a spotlight on creative problem-solvers, and empower viewers to use their own skill set to create positive change.
PRODUCER - DIRECTOR
Award-winning documentary filmmaker SOPHIA KRUZ has produced, directed, and edited two feature documentaries. Her work has screened at film festivals, museums, libraries, community centers, and health-care facilities across the country, as well as broadcast on PBS. She received a BA from the University of Michigan in Screen Arts & Cultures, and currently works in the National Documentary Unit at PBS Detroit Public Television. Previously, Kruz produced the award-winning documentary "A Space for Music, A Seat for Everyone: 100 Years of UMS Performances in Hill Auditorium" as the Producer & Editor at the University of Michigan's internationally renowned University Musical Society (UMS) in Ann Arbor.
Kruz grew up immersed in the arts, and has a strong personal background in music, theater and dance. She believes in the power of the arts to raise awareness about, and provide creative solutions to, the most pressing challenges facing women in the 21st century, and looks forward to sharing this world-view.
CREATING4CHANGE FEATURED ARTISTS
SOUTH AMERICA // GRAFFITI // VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
As a young artist, PANMELA CASTRO was drawn to graffiti and its power to convey a message. When Brazil’s first comprehensive law on domestic violence was passed in 2006, Castro, a victim of domestic violence herself, was moved to inform those living in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro about their right to live free of violence. Castro continues to raise awareness about women’s rights and to draw attention to gender-based violence via an organization she founded called Rede Nami. Rede Nami hosts workshops throughout Brazil, teaching women and girls about domestic violence, as well as instructing attendees in graffiti art. Rede Nami also nurtures talented young female graffiti artists, providing professional opportunities for women in the formerly male-dominated field.
SOUTH-EAST ASIA // DANCE THERAPY // HUMAN TRAFFICKING
SOHINI CHAKRABORTY was a dancer, choreographer and sociologist when she met survivors of human trafficking at a local shelter in India. She knew instinctively that dance could serve as a vehicle for recovery, and by encouraging girls to move their bodies, she thought they could unlock the pain trapped inside, and begin the process of healing. Chakraborty has since formed Kolkata Sanved, an organization that uses dance movement therapy to rehabilitate survivors of human trafficking, and to intercept young women who are at risk of falling prey to traffickers.
EAST AFRICA // FASHION DESIGN // POVERTY & HIV/AIDS
ANNA TAYLOR first moved to Kenya with her family in 2007 and spent several years in the Nairobi slums helping widows and orphans. Two things captured Taylor’s attention in Kenya: the vibrant African aesthetic and the rampant poverty. In 2010, a Kenyan leader in the slums introduced Taylor to a skilled unemployed seamstress named Judith. Anna designed custom pieces and hired Judith to sew these designs for friends and family in the United States. Each piece produced sold quickly at a competitive retail price. Taylor developed an understanding of the Nairobi slum culture and established relationships with local suppliers and industry experts. After completing her degree in Apparel Studies at the University of Arkansas, Taylor launched Judith & James to train and then employ skilled but impoverished women to manufacture high fashion clothing for sale in the global market.
In September 2013, at the age of 22, Taylor debuted the Judith & James Spring/Summer 2014 Collection in New York Fashion Week.
WEST AFRICA // MUSIC // FEMALE GENITAL CUTTINGSinger and activist SISTER FA is a hero to young women in Senegal, and an unstoppable force for social change. A survivor of childhood female genital cutting (FGC), she decided to tackle the issue by starting a grassroots campaign, called “Education Without Excision,” which uses her music to end the practice. Sister Fa is now based in Berlin, and regularly tours throughout West-Africa, hosting classroom workshops for boys and girls in villages where FGC is common.
NORTH AMERICA // JEWELRY DESIGN // POVERTY & HOMELESSNESS
Rebel Nell, founded by Detroiters AMY PETERSON and DIANA RUSSELL, is a jewelry company with a purpose. Using broken graffiti pieces found on the ground, Rebel Nell repurposes the local resource into wearable art. As part of its mission, the company is dedicated to hiring disadvantaged formerly homeless women to help them move from a life of dependence to one of self-reliance, overcoming barriers to employment through the fruits of their own labor.
OUTREACH & EDUCATION STRATEGY
The Creating4Change documentary will receive international visibility and live “beyond the broadcast” through a comprehensive outreach strategy, which will include:
Interactive Website: Creating4Change will develop a robust web presence featuring content that is free and available to the public, including:
“bonus” video; interactive quizzes; articles & written content; production
blog; behind the scenes photo galleries; teacher resource guides.
Screenings and Live Q&A Discussion Events: Creating4Change will partner with universities, NGOs and corporate
sponsors to host film screenings and live discussion events internationally. Discussion panels will
strive to include Creating4Change
featured artist(s) and/or filmmaker whenever possible.
Events: Creating4Change will create an event toolkit and work with partner
organizations to lead a community arts project.
& Policy Screenings: Creating4Change will work with NGO and
government leaders to screen the documentary at international and U.S. policy
and development meetings, such as the United Nations.
Online Q&A Events: Creating4Change will organize live
Q&A events with featured artists through Twitter or other online platforms.
Events will be publicized by partner organizations to draw participants from
around the world.
To implement the above events and activities, Creating4Change is pursuing partnerships with numerous respected and established groups, including university units, NGOs, professional associations, corporate sponsors, and governmental agencies.
As of January 2014, Creating4Change partners include:
- Art Works for Change
- Detroit Public TV
- Education without Excision
- International Expressive Arts Therapy Association
- Kolkata Sanved
- National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapy Associations
- Rebel Nell
- Rede Nami
Creating4Change welcomes additional partnerships with interested individuals and organizations. Please contact Sophia Kruz for more information at: sophie.kruz[at]gmail[dot]com.
MEENA SINGH director of photography
Born in Chicago to an Indian father and an American mother, Meena finds a balance between her eastern heritage and western upbringing through cinema. Her background of global influences has helped her bring a unique perspective to the projects she takes on. This, coupled with her high level of technical knowledge and training, and her desire to bring affecting stories that matter to the screen in a visually compelling way, have made her a highly valuable asset and long-term collaborator with the directors she’s worked with. Meena’s documentary work has taken her all over America, and most notably, she shot scenes for 2013 Oscar nominated documentaryTwenty Feet From Stardom. She studied cinematography at Columbia College Chicago and shot her first two feature films before the age of 21. Following her early success, she relocated to Los Angeles to attend the prestigious American Film Institute. Her work has received numerous awards and critical acclaim, and has screened at film festivals around the world. Meena is a member of the International Cinematographer’s Guild. www.meenasingh.com
SHAY SPANIOLA still photographer
Shay is an Austin, TX based artist, and her camera has taken her across seas working on assignments in over 25 countries, spanning from the realms of documentary based work to lifestyle editorials, weddings and fashion shoots. After graduating from the University of Michigan's school of Art and Design, she spent the year living in Spain and later won a contest around the world through CIEE. Upon returning, she worked on the visual team for Anthropolgie and as an Art Director for Golden Bones Boutique and Velvet Cartel events. www.shayspaniolablog.com
ROB MIGRIN camera operator
Rob is a documentary filmmaker based in Washington, DC. His work spans a wide variety of projects, from documentary television to promotional shorts for nonprofits. His regular clients include National Geographic, Discovery, and the Smithsonian Channel. Most recently, Rob worked on the 4-hour documentary 'The Presidents' Gatekeepers' and the Emmy-nominated special 'Jefferson's Secret Bible.'
FILM ADVISORY PANEL
Cindy Dyer - Vice President of Human Rights, Vital Voices
Prior to joining Vital Voices in 2008, Cindy Dyer served as the Director of the United States Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. Cindy was nominated to this position by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate.
Paola Gianturco - Photojournalist
Ms. Gianturco has documented women’s lives in 55 countries and has created five books as philanthropic projects. Her images have been exhibited at the: United Nations; UNESCO; US Senate; Field Museum, Chicago; International Museum of Women, San Francisco; Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco; Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena; Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Washington DC.
Jacqui True - Professor of Politics & International Relations; Monash University, Australia
Professor Jacqui True is a specialist in gender and international relations, women, peace and security with a focus on the political economy dimensions of peace building and the long-term prevention of violence. Her articles on gender mainstreaming and global governance rank among the most highly cited in the field.
Karen Gibbs - Co-Director, Alliance for Artisan Enterprise; Vice President Marketing, Aid to Artisans
From her work with non-profit organizations, including Aid to Artisans and HAND/EYE to consulting to international development organizations in more than 40 countries, and co-founding a successful import wholesale company, Karen has seen first-hand how the artisan sector touches on all aspects of sustainable economic development.
Stephen Schram - Director, Michigan Public Media
As Michigan Public Media’s chief operating officer and Director of Broadcasting, Schram oversees Michigan Radio, the NPR news and information public radio station at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He served as Senior Vice President of CBS Radio’s WOMC and WYCD as well as Director of Sales for its six leading radio stations in Detroit.
PHEW! You made it!
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