The Girl Epidemic

Girls are being treated like they're an infectious disease. Millions disappear every year -- many are victims of infanticide, sex slavery, and child labor. Fortunately, there is a cure: education.

  • Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri
    Director
    David Bowie: Valentine's Day; Girl Rising; Legend of Lady White Snake
  • GK Reid
    Producer
    Legend of Lady White Snake; Till Human Voices Wake Us, Girl Rising India
  • Swapnila Gupta
    Key Cast
  • Leeza Mangaldas
    Key Cast
  • Sanjay Nath
    Key Cast
  • Faiz Khan
    Key Cast
  • Yogesh Rao
    Key Cast
  • Yoshika Verma
    Key Cast
  • Sohejuhi Sinha
    Editor
  • Justin Via
    Writer
  • Sara Eolin
    Executive Producer
  • Corinna Falusi
    Executive Creative Director
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short
  • Genres:
    Female Empowerment, Experimental, documentary
  • Runtime:
    1 minute 12 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 14, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    12,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    Canada
  • Country of Filming:
    India
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    HD
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • CNN

    United States
    May 5, 2018
    CNN Heard Expose Film Awards
  • Artemis Film Festival
    Los Angeles
    United States
    April 28, 2018
    Official Selection
  • New Filmmakers Program
    New York
    United States
    September 19, 2018
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri

Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri is an Indian-Canadian director, cinematographer, and writer. “Known for her iconic imagery and visionary storytelling” (Huffington Post), her transformative work “moves millions to action”. Her films have won 25 awards, including Best Film at the CNN Expose Awards 2018, two Gold Lions at Cannes Festival of Creativity, and Best Film and Best Director at the Los Angeles International Film Festival. Her work has been screened at museums including the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute, the Center Georges Pompidou, the Brooklyn Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Museum at FIT, the Rubin Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, and the Australian Center for the Moving Image. Her art is “Dynamic and teetering on the verge of fantasy and reality…at the crossroads of pop culture and critical acclaim” according to the Lincoln Center NY, which presented a major exhibition of her work entitled “ICONS” to accompany her book of the same name.

“Wielding her visionary work like a weapon, Indrani is using her art and resources for social justice and change" (Soma Magazine). Indrani has dedicated a large part of her work to social justice advocacy and women's empowerment, working with over 23 nonprofits and extensively with the UN. She was Co-Host of the Global People's Summit 2018 during the General Assembly at the United Nations, democratizing access to information and conversations with 190 countries live; Special Advisor to the UNGMDF and Director of Outreach for the World Film Forum at the UN, and a Fellow and Speaker at Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the UN.

She has been interviewed on Larry King Live, Showbiz Tonight, Access Hollywood, Inside Edition, E! News, HBO, BBC, CNN and published in Vogue, Bazaar, The New York Times, VICE and Rolling Stone.

Born in Calcutta India, as a teen Indrani co-founded SEEschool.org, providing education and vocational training for over 300 women and children. Then, while a student at Princeton University, her work was discovered by David Bowie, before she graduated with a magna cum laude BA in Anthropology. Indrani has collaborated with artists from Lady Gaga to Beyonce, Kate Winslet to Keanu Reeves, and brands from L’Oreal to Pepsi. She is the recipient of significant press recognition in major media outlets, and is frequently asked to speak at institutions such as Harvard, Princeton, New York University, Carnegie Hall, the Center Georges Pompidou, and the United Nations.

Her work can be viewed at www.indrani.com.

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Director Statement

Girl Epidemic introduces audiences to the realities of modern slavery, faced by millions across the world, from the girls' perspective. These tiny heroes make us ask: what would we do in their situation? What will we do to save them?

Over 63 million girls are “missing” in Asia, from causes including female infanticide, child labor and trafficking and rapes of children more than doubled between 2012 and 2016. “The biggest crime against humanity is that 100 million children are deprived of their childhood and their freedom,” according to Nobel Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi. Now sexual violence has become an “epidemic” affecting close to a billion girls and women worldwide .

According to Equality Now: “If it were a medical disease, sexual violence would have the serious attention and the funding to address it, from governments and independent donors alike. ” Part of what perpetuates this problem is that people don't want to believe it's happening. The Girl Epidemic was created to raise awareness of the millions of girls missing, with the metaphor of a disease, so audiences can grasp the scale and urgency of the problem.

Project Nanhi Kali, a non-profit providing support for girls' education and empowerment in India, provided us with the support of actual girls at risk of trafficking, with whom we shot in their homes and neighborhoods on top of a hill of refuse outside Mumbai. I was amazed to find how hard they work just to have a chance to keep up with the other kids in their school. Waking before dawn to fetch water and care for their families before school, lengthy travels often alone, and jobs after school to supplement the income they’re missing by not working all day, these extraordinary girls excel brilliantly when given a chance.

My passion for empowering girls was inspired by my childhood in Calcutta accompanying my mother volunteering with Mother Teresa. As a teen, I co-founded Shakti Empowerment Education Foundation (SEEschool.org), which I continue to be Executive Director of, where I learned to help survivors become heroes, overcome adversity to excel and uplift others. My understanding deepened working with 23 NGOs and the UN focusing on trafficking. I was inspired by Anand Mahindra, who founded Nanhi Kali to support the education of impoverished girls, and Strawberry Frog which came up with the concept of a short film to raise awareness. And I was encouraged by Nobel prize winner Kailash Satyarthi at the Laureates and Leaders Summit on child trafficking, to help mobilize 100 million youth against trafficking.

My style is as a collaborator: I encourage improvisation to add emotional honesty to scenes, glad to replace a speech with a glance. I use as much realism as possible, real characters, real locations, real actions, natural light. Filming in Asia, I thrive on flexibility, embracing its magic of exquisite contrasts, textures, sensory overload, horror and sublime beauty. My vision is to mix show the raw gritty realism of the quixotic, danger and hope-filled dream-scape that reflects the characters’ inner life: an unforgettable world. To provoke viewers to laugh, cry and to hope, to join our protagonists in finding their own potential, to help others and to help end trafficking.