About this project
Thank you so much to all our backers for seeing us this far into the campaign! It's amazing to know that you believe in what the #IndiaCampaign can achieve. We've come up with some stretch goals and what we can accomplish if we reach them. Please take a look and help us take this campaign even further.
60K With this, we'll be able to cover Kickstarter fees and reach 3 more villages with our grassroots screenings. This means an additional 1000 - 1500 people will be able to see the film and interact with Pooja and her mother and talk about female infanticide.
65K This will enable us to screen in two more cinemas in the underserved cities of Mangalore (home of the infamous pub attacks where Hindu extremists attacked women for drinking) and Jaipur, home of Ruhi Singh featured in the film. This stretch goal will allow us cover: technical costs, theatre rental fees and publicity & media.
70K People have reached out to us from all over South Asia telling us the film should be released everywhere in the region. With this stretch goal, we can lay the ground work to begin expanding the campaign outside of India, starting with Pakistan. Reaching this stretch goal would cover the costs of travel to Pakistan and organizing test screenings to figure out how we can tailor the campaign to have a positive impact outside India.
The World Before Her is a massive labour of love that took four years to make. The film shifts between the worlds of the Miss India pageant and a Hindu fundamentalist camp for girls. The access we had to each world was unprecedented and ultimately we ended up with a powerful, controversial and intimate story about what it means to be a woman in contemporary India.
In 18 months we’ve screened at countless festivals and won over 19 awards and distinctions. It’s been an incredible journey finally coming full circle, because at long last, we’re taking the film to India!
Starting on March 8th, International Women’s Day, we’re going to launch an ambitious, 6-month campaign to screen the film across the country.
We’ll release it in theatres, on the net and we’ll travel with it to schools, universities and places where people would never have access to this kind of story. The women in The World Before Her are extraordinary and their voices need to be heard far and wide especially after the Delhi gang rape made us realize how vulnerable many Indian women are.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?
It’s simple. Most documentary filmmakers have one goal—that by sharing their films they can affect some kind of change. Every now and then we get lucky. We find a story that captures the zeitgeist and has potential to become a lightning rod for discussion, introspection and real change. That’s what we have with The World Before Her.
Violence against women and girls in India is not just widespread, it’s woven into the very fabric of society. After the Delhi gang rape however, the country has realized how much it needs to do in the area of women’s rights. Releasing the film on a large-scale means this issue remains front and centre. And that’s why we’re so determined to get it out. But we can’t do it without your help.
Releasing independent films in India is a huge challenge and requires will, faith and support because we’re competing with the muscle and deep pockets of Bollywood. In spite of our film’s success at festivals in India no large distributor will take it on because of the controversial content. It took almost 2 years but we were the first, and likely the last crew to ever get inside the fundamentalist camp featured in the film and the footage is both raw and frightening. Most people in India aren’t aware that such camps exist and the Hindu right would like to keep it that way. And this is precisely another reason the film needs to be seen— it exposes the politics of hatred.
And so we’re reaching out to you—friends known and unknown to help us make something powerful happen.
In May, India will hold National elections. And these particular elections promise to be a turning point. It's almost guaranteed that a Hindu Nationalist government will come to power. If we don’t get the film out now it will be banned, or at the very least, heavily censored.
We have some gutsy and brilliant people behind us—including (for those of you familiar with Indian cinema) Anurag Kashyap; Nandita Das, Shimit Amin and Neeru Bajwa. We’re also working closely with national and international NGOs and educators including CARE; Breakthrough and AIDWA. We can’t wait to get started!
Read on for complete details on the India release!
WHAT IS THE INDIA CAMPAIGN AND HOW WILL IT WORK?
Because India is so diverse and stratified, we’ve come up with a strategy to reach as many people as possible. There are 4 elements to our campaign. Most of these involve traveling with activists, educators, media and the women in the film in order to engage with audiences.
HERE'S WHY WE'RE DOING IT THIS WAY:
50% of India’s population is under the age of 25.
Young people in India have a huge voice and a massive presence on social media—India being the second largest user of Facebook in the world. We’ll encourage these young people to disseminate the messages of the film on social media, creating a groundswell of support. This will drive key media coverage—which, along with the online and theatrical release is a big part of how we intend to reach the middle class.
And we HAVE to reach the middle class because not only do they abort the highest number of girls in India, they are also shaping the direction the country is going.
The last part of the campaign is taking the film to villages and places in India where rates of female infanticide and feticide are high. Although sex selection abortion is illegal a combination of advanced technology and prosperity mean more and more girls are being aborted.
We’re convinced sharing the film and giving people the chance to meet some of the women featured will have a huge impact. People cannot help but be moved by Neera Chopra and her daughter Pooja, Miss India 2009 and up and coming Bollywood star.
We’re hoping that after audiences engage with them they will start to rethink the value of their daughters. With your support and our will, we actually might be able to save lives—and that would be an extraordinary privilege.
HOW WILL YOUR DONATIONS BE USED?
Every dollar raised on Kickstarter will go toward our India campaign! With your help we will reach millions of people across the country in the following states and territories.
In some of these states we'll travel to 4-5 different places with Pooja, her mother and key activists including Dr. Sabu George whose been fighting against female infanticide/feticide for 28 years.
We can’t do this without you and so to show our appreciation we’ve got some great incentives on offer!
REWARDS FOR OUR SUPPORTERS!
There's a limited-edition t shirt/tank created JUST for us by Delhi based designer Rashmi Varma
And music by Swami
And there’s the sublime photography of Mrinal Desai our DOP who shot parts of Slumdog Millionaire. You could be one of twenty people to own his original work!
Apart from this, as the folks who are making this possible we’re going to send you updates from the field. You will get exclusive access to our behind the scenes footage of the campaign.
You’ll get to share the incredible moments we know are going to happen and meet some of the people we’ll be meeting along the way. As much as possible we’ll bring you on this journey with us. We want you to feel like you are there!
For all our supporters in India, we have a list of our incentives with an approximation of the pledge amount in Indian Rupees.
WANT TO HELP BUT CAN'T DONATE?
No worries! Help us spread the word about the campaign in any of the following ways:
1. FACEBOOK: Like our page, share our posts, ask your friends to join in the conversation!
2. TWITTER: Follow our tweets, re-tweet them! #TheWorldBeforeHer; #IndiaCampaign
3. BLOGS/ARTICLES: Write an article or blog on the film, the India-wide campaign and help us publicize this Kickstarter campaign.
4. BECOME AN OUTREACH PARTNER: We would love to partner with your organization, get in touch with us to make it happen! Read more on our existing partners below:
1. Breakthrough is a global human rights organization seeking to make violence and discrimination against women and girls unacceptable. Working out of centers in India and the U.S., Breakthrough uses the power of arts, media, pop culture, and community mobilization to inspire people to take bold action to build a world in which all people live with dignity, equality, and justice. Here's the latest from their global Ring the Bell campaign, calling on men and boys to stand up and make violence against women unacceptable: Breakthrough is committed to helping us with Outreach and we’re exploring additional ways to work together.
2. Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitates the production, promotion, distribution and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. Women Make Movies is our 501 c partner. For those of you in the US who can donate upwards of $250 (we encourage you!) the fabulous folks at Women Make Movies will send you a charitable donation tax receipt. Please contact us directly if this is something you’d like to pursue!
3. CARE is a leading international humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. In more than 80 countries, CARE works with the poorest communities to: improve basic health and education, enhance rural livelihoods and food security, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and help vulnerable people adapt to climate change and provide lifesaving assistance during emergencies. CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls living in poverty because, equipped with the proper resources, women and girls have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty.
THE TEAM BEHIND THE CAMPAIGN:
Mariam Zaidi is a documentary filmmaker born in India, raised in the Middle East, and currently based in Toronto. She holds a BA in Communication Studies from Concordia University and an MFA in Documentary Media from Ryerson University. Her short films have shown at festivals across the world in cities including New York, Dubai and Toronto.
Farzana Shammi is a multilingual journalist and an emerging documentary filmmaker. Born and raised in Bangladesh, she holds a Master’s degree in Mass Communications and Journalism from the University of Dhaka, and an advanced diploma in Broadcasting and Film from Toronto’s Centennial College.
Nisha Pahuja is the director of The World Before Her
Virinderpaul Singh is an independent social media producer and digital needs specialist. Has worked on many crowd funding campaigns and commercial projects. Recently helped fund a documentary project and a science fiction film. Also, an active member of the Documentary Organization of Canada.
If you have advice, suggestions, comments or questions, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com Many thanks!
Risks and challenges
There are risks and challenges to every project and ours is no exception. There are two major challenges we may encounter:
1. Censorship: With the content of the film being controversial, there is a risk the Hindu right will try to shut us down. This is why we’re getting it out before elections. It’s also why we’re asking people from the Hindu right to watch the film before we release. The story itself is very balanced and doesn’t take sides. If they’re able to see that it will go a long way!
But if we do get shut down that will bring more attention to the film and our online release will be stronger for it! No matter what, we'll get it out.
2. Competition: In spite of how powerful and relevant our film may be, we’re still an independent production competing with the massive PR budgets of Bollywood. This is why the support we have from people like Anurag Kashyap, Nandita Das and Shimit Amin is so important! They are highly respected in Indian cinema and their backing will make sure the film is seen and the issues it raises discussed.
It’s also why before we release theatrically we’re taking the film across the country to colleges and universities. This will get the word out and build support!
Although we are expecting these hurdles we're very optimistic about the power of the film and more importantly the power of people rallying behind it. We’ve been laying the ground work now for over a year so we feel well prepared.
And YOU can really make a difference! Helping us publicize the film and campaign will go a tremendously long way in making sure we’re successful!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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