In one of the oldest towns in India, a group of young women are rewriting tradition. The day before her final exam, Apsana runs from her arranged marriage so that she can continue going to school. Samira wants to marry for love, but chooses to listen to her parents. Two months later, her friend Karishma disappears with her childhood sweetheart. Brave Girls follows their journey for self determination and love.
Ellie Walton arrived in Gujarat on a Fulbright fellowship to lead a digital storytelling residency with teenage girls exploring their courage to go back to school. In collaboration with Gujarati artist, Yashaswi Desai, they facilitated 3 months of workshops in photography, writing, and editing, culminating in the creation of a digital letter to inspire other girls to believe in their dreams. These letters were selected to the Women at Work Film Festival in Ahmedabad, where the girls shared the stage with Bollywood film directors and nationally acclaimed feminist artists. Two van loads from their small town came out to watch the premiere of their short film:
One week after the screening of their digital letter, co-director, Yashaswi Desai, received a phone call from one of the girls, sharing that she was considering running from her arranged marriage so that she could pursue her dream to finish school and get a job. Although we had already begun filming their journey back to school, at this point, we realized there was a deeper story unfolding.
We are currently raising funds to go back to India to film a follow up with the young women, and post-production costs (editing, sound mastering, etc.) for broadcast distribution opportunities. We are also developing an outreach campaign, so that the film can be used as a tool to open conversations with young women and their families across India about what it means for girls to make healthy choices for themselves.
The project is fiscally sponsored by Sustainable Markets Foundation a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible. Checks can be sent to:
Sustainable Markets Foundation
45 West 36th Street, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10018
Checks should be made out to "Sustainable Markets Foundation: Purpose: Brave Girls