In celebration of International Women’s Day, global education organization Room to Read today announced She Creates Change, a nonprofit-led animation and live-action film project to promote gender equality through the stories of young women around the world. To produce the film series, Oscar-, BAFTA, Cannes Grand Prix- and Grammy-winning Nexus Studios curated a team of diverse women directors and artists from around the world with distinct visual styles.
The multi-media initiative — which in addition to a six-episode film series also includes books and audio stories — aims to reach the globe’s 432 million adolescent girls (ages 12-18) with content and educational curriculum that supports them in creating change in their lives and communities.
“Every girl around the world woke up today with the same need. She had to utilize skills like resilience, self-confidence and critical thinking to overcome challenges — for herself, her family or her community. To achieve a world free from gender inequality, girls must develop these important skills and have access to role models that make perseverance possible. She Creates Change is Room to Read’s solution to accelerating equality for every girl in the world by spotlighting role models who demonstrate their use of key skills to accomplish positive change,” said Dr. Geetha Murali, CEO of Room to Read. “Inspired by the stories presented in She Creates Change, I know young women everywhere will activate their abilities to be changemakers and make informed choices to shape their futures.”
She Creates Change is a series of six animated shorts with accompanying live-action mini documentaries that feature the narratives of six courageous young women from historically low-income communities in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Vietnam. The series, produced by Nexus Studios, portrays how each girl confronts challenges unique to her life — such as harassment, food scarcity or early marriage — along with the life skills she uses to advocate for herself and her future. The stories address topics including climate justice, financial literacy, discrimination, menstruation and sexual harassment.
The films will be available in dozens of languages, starting with English, Spanish and Hindi, and distributed throughout the world through Room to Read programs and in partnership with community organizations and governments. Curriculum packages that align with the stories presented, based on Room to Read’s comprehensive seven-year Girls’ Education Program curriculum, will be provided online, through broadcast media and in-person programming.
Directors and artists who worked on the series include Oscar nominee Siqi Song (Sister), Hannah Lau-Walker, AACTA nominee Bonnie Forsyth (Femme Enfant), Claudia Chinyere Akole, Neeraja Raj (Meow or Never) and Prashanti Aswani. Notable writers like London’s first Young Poet Laureate Warsan Shire, whose poetry was adapted for Beyoncé’s “Lemonade”, crafted the screenplays.
Emmy winner Martha Adams, whose pasts projects include Girls Rising and We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Educate Girls around the World, serves as series director and producer for the project. Executive producers are Brenda Chapman, the first woman to win an Oscar for best animated feature film (Brave), and veteran screenwriter and director Jill Culton (Abominable), recipient of Animation Magazine‘s World Animation Summit Game Changer award for being the first woman to write and direct an original animated theatrical feature.
“For too long, the stories we have seen and heard through global media have not represented the voices of so many young women in the world. The practice of sharing stories by women, about women and for women is an undeniably powerful way to help girls advocate for themselves and their rights,” said Adams. “It is an honor for me to help share the diverse stories featured in She Creates Change. Though each girl’s individual circumstances may be unique, the courage and skills demonstrated are universal and exemplify how the rising generation of girls can use their voices to change their circumstances and societies.”
Julia Parfitt, Executive Producer at Nexus Studios, commented, “The work that Room to Read is doing is evident in the stories we have told, and the impact on the girl’s lives shared through authentic voices was as moving as it was uplifting. To collaborate with the team at Room to Read and Martha, and to have the opportunity to curate a diverse and (mostly) female team of global talent, including directors, writers, actors, musicians, composers and producers, was a huge privilege … The results of this endeavour paint a truly emotional picture that binds the directors with their subjects to tell stories that resonate universally. I’m so glad we were able to do this using a variety of animation styles that elevated it and brought joy.”
The film episodes feature voice over acting by a roster of talent including Freida Pinto, Charithra Chandran, YouTube sensation Prajakta Koli (MostlySane), Dilshad Vadsaria, Adhir Kalyan, Amrita Acharia and Quyen Ngo. Kenyan R&B pop singer Karun Mungai performs the original She Creates Change campaign song “Who Am I?” written by Warsan Shire and composed by Lucie Treacher.
Rebel Girls, a global multi-media girl empowerment brand, is a strategic partner on the campaign and has produced books and audio stories that complement the film series.
All six stories from the She Creates Change film series will be released to general audiences in October 2023, in celebration of International Day of the Girl.