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An intense journey through modern day Bosnia and one woman’s quest to expose the use of systematic rape against women in wartime.
117 backers pledged $13,000 to help bring this project to life.

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$13,000

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Persephone Speaks: The Forgotten Women of Bosnia, is a documentary on the use of rape as a war strategy, and a survivor's quest to shed light on the international community's failure to acknowledge the effects this crime has on women's lives, long after the war has ended.

Why we want to make this documentary:  Females are nonstop targets during wartime, as demonstrated by the mass rapes implemented as a policy of genocide during the Bosnian war.  Because this atrocity is grossly ignored by the international community and international tribunals, this film revisits one survivor who continues to fight for justice on behalf of others all over the world.  From her tiny smoke-filled office on the shrapnel-damaged outskirts of Sarajevo, to her monthly sojourns to the Hague, her goal is for perpetrators to be brought to justice.  To this day, war rape survivors continue to join her group, finally sharing their stories with this woman who will ensure their testimonies are heard in the courts in Sarajevo or the Hague.  In many cases, the perpetrators are either awaiting trial or have been rewarded by the Serbian government for successfully running a "camp", often in the form of a promotion within the local police force.  We have witnessed incidents of this same "reward" behavior in similar conflicts around the world.  In situations such as these, many survivors have expressed anger, fear, and shock, especially when they see their attacker, years later, in high level positions or vacationing beside them on the Adriatic coast, which numerous victims have witnessed.  The main subject of my film, Bakira, takes justice into her own hands when others have given up...and sets out to find where the perpetrators, named in numerous testimonies, now live, subsequently providing this evidence to the Hague and other courts.

This is a critical project - one that needs immediate attention and any support you can give.  It is through projects such as these that light is shed on human rights issues. The continued treatment of women around the world, especially during times of conflict, needs to be heard through as many channels as possible.  Unfortunately, war rape survivors are often seen as a problem, a byproduct of war that needs to be swept under the rug...a reality in many post-war countries.  Our work will be done when the world comes together to ensure female victims of war are not forgotten and the perpetrators are brought to justice.    

With your help, PERSEPHONE SPEAKS can be completed by the fall:  Our ambitious production schedule of completing the film by the fall and having it premiere at an international film festival, can be met if we immediately raise our bare minimum fundraising goal of $12,000.  To all you new to Kickstarter, if we fall short of our goal during the designated donation period, we will lose all money raised, along with the opportunity to make this film, as well as play a meaningful role in the issue of human rights.  If we are in the fortunate position of having surpassed our minimum goal, we will use this money to enhance the production value of the film and pay for costly editing, marketing, and distribution.

Most recent developments as of April 2013:  

-Recently completed an interview with Lauren Wolfe, an award-winning journalist who has written for publications such as The Guardian and The Atlantic.  She is the director of WMC's Women Under Siege, a project on sexualized violence in conflict originated by Gloria Steinem at the Women's Media Center in New York.  She also serves on the advisory committee of the Nobel Women's Initiative's International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict.

-Planning a trip to Croatia and Bosnia within the next few weeks...  

-Arranging an interview with Radovan Karadzic, a notorious war criminal and one of the main orchestrators of war rape, via his defense team at the Hague.

-Confirmed interview with Vesna Pusic, Croatian Foreign Minister.

Please check for additional updates on the upcoming Persephone Speaks website.

Risks and challenges

There are always risks and challenges when it comes to filmmaking. Fortunately (and unfortunately) for us, about half of the production phase of the project has been completed. A continued challenge will be following Bakira on her travels to the Hague, and to her hometown (in former Bosnia) from which she has been shunned for her activism. Another challenge/risk is speaking to former Serbian mercenaries who participated in these rape camps. Given the fact that it will take a vast amount of time to edit over 20 hours of footage into a compelling story will be a tremendous undertaking, one that will require the most talented editor. In order to make this happen, we need to have the funds to hire an amazing post-production crew. The biggest risks associated with these positions are budget and time, but thanks to our experience and contacts, we have assembled a crew that is excited to work on such an important project.

Lastly, a large part of filmmaking is collaboration. We're eager to raise funds on Kickstarter because this film is, ultimately, the story of human rights and should have the chance to be produced on an international level, by individuals everywhere. We want the world to come together for Persephone Speaks. Regardless of the occasional setback, we know that when successfully funded, Persephone Speaks will be a groundbreaking film that our backers can be proud to call their own.

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    An awesome t-shirt with original artwork, designed exclusively for this film project.

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    The t-shirt, a thank you in the credits, as well as a DVD copy of the documentary.

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    All of the above rewards, plus a percentage of your donation goes to Women Victims of War, a non-profit group in Sarajevo comprised of survivors providing testimonies to the Hague.

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    All of the above rewards, plus an honorary Associate Producer credit in the film.

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Funding period

- (45 days)