Other Pointed Topics · Women

Girl Rising – A Must See

When I found out that my childhood friend, Alex Dionne, was a producer on the feature film “Girl Rising,” I knew I had to chat with her about this project and her experience being a producer on the film. This project is truly inspiring, to say the least! The message that resonates the most with me is that nothing will stop these girls. We are so lucky to have the educational opportunities we have in the United States. For many girls around the world, an education is unheard of, and options to pursue one are not readily available. Girls have been forced into a life that is, for lack of a better word, repulsive. The struggles and barriers these girls face for an education to better themselves, have a voice, and stand up for their right to an education, has been nonexistent. It is beyond comprehension. The world is changing, and 10×10 is making a stand to put girls’ global education at the forefront. 10X10’s vision, campaign and focus to educate and empower girls are powerful and emotional. I’m truly honored to know someone involved in this awe, inspiring project.

For many of us, we value our education, may even take it a little for granted but deep down we know how important it is especially to further our careers in today’s ever-changing job market. We also have many options available to us to continue our education whether it is an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or doctorate.  As young girls growing up in the US, we did not have to worry about having the same educational opportunities as boys did. We all have a right to an education. We have countless opportunities if we do the work to get there. A number of young girls around the world do not have that luxury. The importance of educating just one girl knows no bounds.  “Around the world, millions of girls face barriers to education that boys do not. And, yet, when you educate a girl, you can break cycles of poverty in just one generation. Removing barriers to girls’ education – such as early and forced marriage, domestic slavery, sex trafficking, gender violence and discrimination, lack of access to healthcare, and school fees – means not only a better life for girls, but a safer, healthier, and more prosperous world for all.”

Alex has been working on this film for the past two and a half years as a producer and production manager. She has traveled the world to Ethiopia three times and Uganda once. She has experienced the struggles these girls go through first hand. According to Alex, “The documentary film focuses on nine girls from nine different countries and the challenges they face getting an education in that country.”

10×10 does not just want to turn this matter on its head; it wants to turn it on its head, back, feet and side.  “10×10 is a global campaign to educate and empower girls – working to create a ripple effect that will transform communities for generations. Award-winning journalists at The Documentary Group and Vulcan Productions, along with a strategic partner, Intel Corporation, founded 10×10. It is built on a foundation of partnerships with NGOs, corporations, policy makers, and grassroots organizations — all working to change minds, lives, and policy. 10×10’s coalition of impact partners includes a high-impact network of champions and leaders in girls’ education: A New Day Cambodia, CARE, Partners in Health, Plan, International USA, Room to Read, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation / Girl Up, and World Vision. These organizations provide life-changing services to girls every day and are among the best practitioners of their kind.”

The film is currently screening in over 750 theaters across the United States, with over 53,000 people purchasing tickets online. In addition, they are the 5th trending film on the NY Times’  TimesPulse section!

It is not just a film; it is a life changer. “Girl Rising spotlights the stories of unforgettable girls born into unforgiving circumstances. It captures their dreams, their voices, and their remarkable lives.” There’s a lot more to this project than this amazing, enlightening film.  Per Alex, “We have a whole campaign and social media aspect to this project. We are working with many non-governmental organizations on this issue, girls’ educations. It’s been a real collaboration, and it’s been a goal of ours to bring this issue to the attention of as many people worldwide as possible. The stats on what happens when a girl is educated are staggering. It’s a simple idea…educate girls, change the world…and it works.”

Although the main stars of the film are these amazing, nine girls, the film has an incredible lineup of writers, an all-star cast of voices, a talented director, and musical genesis composing an inspirational soundtrack. “Each girl’s story is transformed for the screen by an acclaimed writer from her native country: Marie Arana from Peru, Edwidge Danticat from Haiti, Mona Eltahawy from Egypt, Aminatta Forna from Sierra Leone, Zarghuna Kargar from Afghanistan, Maaza Mengiste from Ethiopia, Sooni Taraporevala from India, Manjushree Thapa from Nepal, and Loung Ung from Cambodia.” In addition, a bevy of stars stepped in to lend their voices to the cause: Cate Blanchett, Priyanka Chopra, Selena Gomez, Anne Hathaway, Selma Hayek, Alicia Keys, Chloe Moretz, Liam Neeson, Meryl Streep, and Kerry Washington.  And the music… oh yeah, a wonderful collaboration between Academy Award winner Rachel Portman and acclaimed composer Hans Zimmer.

They have a somewhat unconventional distribution process, with a company called Gathr. “When you go onto the site, you plug in your zip code, click on Girl Rising, and find where the film is playing in your area. If it’s not playing in your town/community, people can ‘captain’ a screening for that community. A theater is chosen, and the captain works to get friends/family, other interested parties, to pre-buy tickets to that screening.” 50 Shades of Health is looking into captaining our very own screening for our members, friends, and family (more information to follow). It is great to hear that the majority of the screenings through Gathr are selling out. So much so that 2nd and 3rd screenings are necessary to keep up with demand. In addition, Regal Theaters is going to show the film in all of their 169 theaters, for a week, starting April 19.

I think it is best said in their info sheet “By sharing their personal journeys, the girls of Girl Rising become our teachers. As one of them says, ‘I feel as though I have power…I can do anything. And I have important things to do.’ Research shows that investing in girls can transform families, communities, and nations. The girls of Girl Rising show us how.”

Please see this film! It will open your eyes and may you never take your education for granted. These girls are change and nothing will stop them!

Please see this film! It will open your eyes and may you never take your education for granted. These girls are change and nothing will stop them!

To learn more about this project, please visit their site: http://girlrising.com/

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