04 December 2013
Back in 2011, First Light funded Integrate Bristol to work with a group of young women to produce a film about female genital mutilation (FGM).
The ground breaking and compelling short drama documentary Silent Scream highlighted the myths and misconceptions that are sometimes used to justify the practice.
The film is now being used internationally as a teaching resource and will shortly premiere in Australia as part of an FGM awareness campaign. Requests for the film to be used to spearhead similar campaigns have also been received from organisations in Nigeria.
The young women involved in the project demonstrated a great deal of courage and determination in addressing the issue and received a commendation from Avon and Somerset Police for their work. The film also picked up other Fil Festival Awards, including a First Light Award in 2012.
Those involved in the original film project now provide training and awareness sessions for teachers, health professionals and young people upon the subject across the UK. They have been joined by a cohort of younger participants who are continuing the work, lobbying government and holding profile raising events.
In October, Lynne Featherstone, Minister for International Development, honoured the young people’s work and presented awards at an anti FGM event and the group recently met with the Minister for Communities, Stephen Williams and have also met with Health Minister Jeremy Hunt and Public Health Minister Jane Ellison. Talks are also underway with the Home Office and the Department of Education as to how the film can be used as an education and awareness raising resource.
Lisa Zimmerman from Integrate Bristol commented
We have a very full diary for the next months too – and are now trying to raise funds for a feature film. What’s also exciting is the increasing number of Somali (and other muslim background) young people are opting for careers in drama and media! Two are already in university, one in his final year, and several girls are applying for apprenticeships. That’s a huge change for us …. Others are following courses related to the film – medical, legal etc. It really was a life changing project for them. We have over 100 young people working with us now, and several mothers have jumped on board too.