Sharing Stories of FGM Survivors Through Film
More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM), and more than 3 million girls are estimated to be at risk each year. The practice is largely concentrated in Sub-Saharan African countries, and members of the Mandela Washington Fellowship network are collaborating on solutions.
A 2021 Reciprocal Exchange project between U.S. filmmaker Tamlin Hall and 2019 Fellowship Alumna Anne Nairuko Mootian aims to shed light on the stories of FGM survivors.
This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to complete an international project during a pandemic. I gained a wealth of experience producing remotely and navigating different cultures, personalities, and professions.”Tamlin Hall, Reciprocal Exchange Participant
Raising awareness through story telling
Tamlin Hall owns Azalea Drive Films and founded IAMHOLDENON, an Atlanta-based non-profit production company whose mission is to produce content that uplifts the human spirit. Anne is chief executive officer of AfyAfrika, where she coordinates efforts to end FGM activities in Kenya.
The two are combining their expertise in storytelling and advocacy to collaborate on a documentary where survivors share their stories about FGM. To support including additional stories in the short documentary, the project is currently under consideration with Docubox East African Film Fund.
Overcoming challenges and adapting
Originally, Tamlin planned to travel to Kenya to film the documentary himself, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team shifted their project to a hybrid model. While a Kenyan film crew filmed the documentary, Tamlin produced the documentary remotely from the United States.
Tamlin says that these limitations contributed to greater success for the project and has changed the way he works on projects in the United States, “This exchange program is setup for success if you are open for collaboration and compromise. This became a once-in-a-lifetime documentary for me.”
He continues to work with the Kenyan film crew on other future projects.
Inspiring connections virtually
Thanks to a recommendation from 2021 Fellowship Alumna Saum Idd, Tamlin connected with the film’s director Mark Wambui, a 2016 Fellowship Alumnus, through Givitas, a social network that gives members of the Fellowship Network a platform to make connections by offering and seeking help.
Tamlin says, “This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to complete an international project during a pandemic. I gained a wealth of experience producing remotely and navigating different cultures, personalities, and professions.”
Written by Abbie Wade.