Doc Blog

Filtered by Topic: Human Rights

Young Girls Speak Out

The film Very Young Girls introduces us to the cold hard facts of child sexual exploitation in the United states.  The director, David Schisgall and his team, follow the women who work at GEMS (Girls Education and Mentoring Services) and the girls who use their services.  The reality is that girls as young as thirteen are trapped in the cycle of sexual abuse at the hands of their pimps.

After the screening, Schisgall was joined by his co-directors, a social worker from GEMS and one of the girls in the film, Shaquana.  Someone...


By my count there are three films in this year's Real to Reel that have their roots in my trip to Iraq after the invasion in 2003. At the time, I had basically given up trying to make feature docs and   was focussing on making socially positive doc episodes for television. I went to Iraq to make two shows for MTV:  True Life: I'm in Iraq, a verite and interview hour about American and Iraqi young people in the post-war period, and Gideon's Diary in Iraq, a half...


Mukhtaran Mai (left, background) made a surprise visit at the screening Shame, a work in progress which documents her remarkable story as an illiterate rape victim who has become an international spokesperson for the empowerment of women.

A few years ago, while living in her home of Meerwala, Pakistan, Mai’s brother was accused of having an affair with a woman. As a so-called "honour for honour" punishment, Mukhtaran was sentenced to be raped and then paraded around the town. Mai filed a police report and eventually took her case to the Supreme...


[TIFF will be showing Shame (left), a documentary about Pakistani activist Mukhtaran Mai, in Real to Reel as a work-in-progress. Here the director takes us behind the scenes - Ed.]

We needed a few crucial pick up shots done and I was in the middle of editing in New York. To get these pick ups, I would have had to go back to Pakistan for a few days. At that point, however, we were nine days away from the Toronto International Film Festival deadline and it wasn’t possible for...


This year, TIFF is pleased to present an especially strong line-up of  documentaries from South Asia. A Cry in the Dark (left) captures the violent repression of locals in Manipur, India protesting the rape and killing of a young woman under police custody. The film’s director, Haobam Paban Kumar, a native of the Eastern Indian province, captured escalating protests of shocking intensity - including shots of police beating unarmed activists and journalists in open sight. This protest, barely covered by the international press, demonstrates the power of independent documentary...


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