We know some amazing people who are sewing seeds of justice around the world, and one of those people is filmmaker Evan Grae Davis. Our relationship began about a year ago when we interviewed him about his documentary, It’s a Girl. He is currently working on a new project, which he is excited to share with you!
Evan Grae Davis…can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a husband, father, documentary filmmaker, speaker, and social justice activist. My passion is to leverage the power of documentary storytelling to confront culture and inspire social action. I have traveled the world with camera in hand for nearly two decades, advocating for social justice through writing and directing short documentaries and educational videos mobilizing support for non-profits and NGO’s championing the cause of the poor and exploited.
I’ve consulted with and worked along side over 100 regional, national and international organizations, helping them tell their stories and mobilize support for their cause. In 2012, I released my first independent, feature length documentary film, It’s a Girl, asking why nearly 200 million women are missing in the world today– killed, aborted and abandoned simply because they are girls. Shot on location in India and China, It’s a Girl reveals the issue and asks why this is happening, and why so little is being done to save girls and women.
Tell us about “It’s a Girl”… why did you make it, and what was the impact?
During the years I worked with non-profits around the world, I witnessed a lot of injustice. I began asking the question, what are the cultural roots and mindsets that allow for human rights violations on the scale seen throughout the world today? I set out to explore this question through a documentary film. I and the team traveled to nine nations capturing stories for this film. One of the nations we visited was India, hoping to understand how the subjugation and devaluation of women could be justified by the deeply established son-preference culture.
After hearing the UN statistic of as many as 200 million girls missing in the world today as a result of ‘gendercide’ we researched the issue in China, as well, and were completely astonished by how few people seemed to be aware of what appeared to be the greatest human rights issue of our time, and certainly the greatest form of violence against women in the world today. There seemed to be very little out there on the topic. It was then that we determined to dedicate the film project to exposing this untold story and educating and mobilizing a movement to end gendercide in India and China.
It’s a Girl has screened in hundreds of locations around the world in over 20 countries, with nearly half a million people joining the cause to end gendercide so far as a result of the film. I and the film have been featured in countless radio and media interviews, articles and reviews, including BBC Radio, NPR, New Internationalist, Ms. Magazine, World Magazine and many more. I have spoken at screenings and events globally, including colleges and universities, film festivals, at the European and British Parliaments and on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.
I have also been privileged to take the film and the issue of gendercide to some of the largest TEDx stages in South Asia and the U.S., challenging leaders and influencers from all over the world to act to stand against gendercide– one of the most significant human rights issue of our time and the greatest form of violence against women in the world today.
So what’s next? Why this?
As the It’s a Girl campaign continues to gain momentum, and with the successful release of It’s a Girl on DVD and iTunes, it’s time to think about what is next for me. I have recently launched a new film following up on the theme of It’s a Girl and answering some of the questions that have come up as a result of the film.
My new film, Female — The World War on Women (working title) is a documentary film addressing the various forms of violence and abuse suffered by women on every continent around the globe. While exploring personal stories illustrating an array of issues such as the feminization of poverty, gendercide, female genital mutilation, child marriage, and the objectification and exploitation of women, experts will seek to identify the cultural mindsets and traditions that result in such human rights violations while activists will offer hope of change through viable solutions.
The devaluation and subjugation of women worldwide continues today on a scale never seen before in history. What kind of epidemic is at the root of such widespread and methodical violence targeting half of the world’s population?
The answer is misogyny: the hatred of women, or the belief that women are inferior to men. It comes in many forms, including social discrimination, physical abuse, legal discrimination, and the generalized objectification of women. Misogynistic cultures often give husbands and fathers full legal rights over their wives and daughters.
Misogyny can be found in every part of the world, where one out of three women will become a victim of violence in her lifetime. In many parts of the developing world, however, misogyny is even more deeply woven into the fabric of the family and social culture – making the violence inescapable.
Millions of women throughout the world continue to suffer in silence, and I hope to give them voice– to tell their stories, and the stories of those who are leading the way to greater rights and freedoms for women within their own cultures, who are inspiring movements demanding equality and justice.
How can we all help?
I have recently launched a crowd funding campaign for the film. The distribution model for an effective social action documentary cannot be driven by profit, so my films are made in a non-profit model, freeing me to focus on impact instead. This means I fund the production and distribution of my films through partnership with others who, like me, believe in fighting for the dignity and worth of women.
I am inviting those who want to be a part of making this film to back the project and help spread the word. Even small donations can make a big difference. You can learn more about the film and how to help by checking out my campaign here. And there are some great rewards for those who give, including the It’s a Girl DVD and a copy of the new film once it is complete.
Together, we can tell the stories that need to be told and help restore dignity and value to millions of women.
Evan Grae Davis is currently running an indiegogo campaign to raise the first $30,000. This will fund the development and pre-production, allowing him and his team to conduct research, identify key stories, travel to capture some preliminary footage, and put together a trailer and other tools they will need to raise the remaining funding for post production and distribution.
You can contribute to the campaign here!