FJC Docs Heat Up Summer Film Festivals – and Capitol Hill!
In 1998, when she was eighteen, Israeli model Linor Abargil was raped at knifepoint. Just two months later she entered and won the Miss World competition. If this combination sounds improbable, then you only need to meet Abargil.
A decade after her ordeal she decided to journey around the world speaking to other victims of rape and sexual abuse, including celebrities like Fran Drescher and Joan Collins. It’s this five year journey that’s the subject of Brave Miss World, winner of the foundation’s 2012 Kroll Film Fund grant.
Brave Miss World follows in the tradition of award-winning, Foundation-supported documentaries that tackle urgent social issues. Moreover, as with several award-winning FJC documentaries – Crime After Crime and Budrus, for example – the team behind this film has become deeply involved with its subject’s cause. In this case, it’s Abargil’s fight to raise consciousness about violence against women.
“What was so compelling about Linor was her determination to keep speaking out and fighting for justice on behalf of other women no matter how hard it was on her,” the film’s director and producer Cecilia Peck (daughter of Gregory Peck) recently told The Daily Beast.
In June, that fight went to Washington, D.C., where Linor Abargil was invited to meet with Lynn Rosenthal, the White House Adviser on Violence Against Women. Both Abargil and Peck were on hand for a screening of Brave Miss World at the prestigious the American Film Institute’s AFI Docs festival. The film was also screened on Capitol Hill thanks to the efforts of Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren.
Building on a decade-long mission to speak out against rape and overly-lenient sentencing laws, Abargil hopes to use the film as part of an educational screening series about rape prevention on college campuses.
Furthermore, Brave Miss World isn’t the only Foundation film which tackles the thorny subject of violence against women. Released in 2011 to wide acclaim, Crime after Crime tells the dramatic story of the legal battle to free Debbie Peagler, an incarcerated survivor of domestic violence. Peagler was wrongly convicted of the murder of her abusive boyfriend, and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
The team behind that film is conducting a nationwide social impact campaign (Free from Abuse) to allow victims of domestic violence charged with fighting back against their persecutors to present evidence of abuse in court and reveal the true nature of the circumstances surrounding the charges against them. Meanwhile, the film’s protagonist Joshua Safran, an attorney who has worked pro bono on Peagler’s case, will be publishing a memoir this September about the unconventional upbringing that helped him on the road to social justice.
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Audiences on both coasts will have a chance to see some of our most acclaimed documentaries at film festivals this summer!
Four documentaries supported by the Foundation’s Kroll Film Fun will be featured at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival later this month and into early August.
Brave Miss World will show on July 31 and August 4. Dancing in Jaffa, a look at ballroom dancing classes with both Israeli and Palestinian children, will show on July 26, and August 2, 6 and 10. Joe Papp in Five Acts is a loving look at the man behind New York’s illustrious Public Theater. It runs July 27, August 3 and 7. Finally, Sukkah City, which features some of the most imaginative designs from a 2010 sukkah-building competition in New York, will be showing July 30, August 4 and 5.
Meanwhile, the documentary Numbered, a look at the relationship between Holocaust survivors and their camp tattoos, will be shown at the Hamptons Synagogue in Westhampton, NY, at their Jewish Film Festival, on Tuesday, July 16. (The movie was prominently featured on the homepage of the New York Times last year). And Inventing Our Life, focusing on the century-long history of the kibbutz movement in Israel, will be featured on Monday, August 26.