Global education organization Room to Read has announced She Creates Change, a multi-media, animation, and live-action film project promoting gender equality by telling the stories of young women from around the world.
She Creates Change is a collection of six animated shorts with accompanying live-action documentary shorts that will supplement their narratives and introduce viewers to the real-life girls who inspired them. The true stories come from young women living in historically low-income communities in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Vietnam. Each is a former Room to Read participant.
The shorts were written to portray how the six protagonists confront challenges unique to their lives, such as harassment, food scarcity, early marriage, climate justice, financial literacy, discrimination, and menstruation. Each film also highlights the life skills that their characters have learned in order to advocate for themselves and their futures.
All six stories will be released in October of this year in celebration of International Day of the Girl.
The films are being produced by award-winning U.K. outfit Nexus Studios (The House, The Tape Deck is a Time Machine). They will be made available in dozens of languages – English, Spanish, and Hindi to begin with – and distributed globally through Room to Read programs and by working with community-based organizations and local governments.
For the shorts, Nexus has recruited a team of diverse women directors and artists from around the world to contribute. They include Oscar-nominee Siqi Song, Hannah Lau-Walker, Bonnie Forsyth, Claudia Chinyere Akole, Neeraja Raj, and Prashanti Aswani. Emmy-winning producer Martha Adams (Girls Rising, We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Educate Girls Around the World) will direct and produce the larger project. Other producers include Oscar-winner Brenda Chapman (Brave) and Jill Culton (Abominable).
In a promotional video, Adams explained, “Animation can help audiences look at girls in a whole new light. Who a girl is and who she wants to become shouldn’t be limited by the circumstances in her life. Animation can point us to what’s most important, to what’s happening on the inside. That incredible place where her hopes and dreams reside.”
In addition to the shorts and their accompanying documentaries, the program will include books and audio stories. According to organizers, their loft goal is to “reach all the 432 million adolescent girls in the world with content and educational curriculum that supports the min creating change in their lives and communities.”
In a release, Room to Read CEO Dr. Geetha Murali said: “Every girl around the world woke up today with the same need. She had to utilize skills like resilience, self-confidence, and critical thinking to overcome challenges – for herself, her family, or her community. To achieve a world free from gender inequality, girls must develop these important skills and have access to role models that make perseverance possible. She Creates Change is Room to Read’s solution to accelerating equality for every girl in the world by spotlighting role models who demonstrate their use of key skills to accomplish positive change. Inspired by the stories presented in She Creates Change, I know young women everywhere will activate their abilities to be changemakers and make informed choices to shape their futures.”
Julia Parfitt, executive producer for Nexus Studios, added: “The work that Room to Read is doing is evident in the stories we have told, and the impact on the girl’s lives shared through authentic voices was as moving as it was uplifting. To collaborate with the team at Room to Read and Martha, and to have the opportunity to curate a diverse and (mostly) female team of global talent, including directors, writers, actors, musicians, composers and producers, was a huge privilege… The results of this endeavour paint a truly emotional picture that binds the directors with their subjects to tell stories that resonate universally. I’m so glad we were able to do this using a variety of animation styles that elevated it and brought joy.”