2nd May 2016, New York: Needlecraft, a short animated film on female genital mutilation (FGM), has won the Gold World Medal at the 2016 New York Festival, which honours the best TV and films. It was created by British filmmaker Ruth Beni and her production company Animage Films, in collaboration with SRT grantee FORWARD, and was inspired by the Guardian newspaper’s work with FGM survivors. It beat competition from the BBC, CNN and broadcasters from over 50 countries to win the award.
The film describes how FGM affects more than 125 million girls from 29 countries around the world, and animation was used by the filmmaker to respect the dignity and anonymity of the survivors while still depicting the full impact of the practice. Ruth Beni said, “I thought that something so harrowing had to be told in a very beautiful way so the facts could be palatable.”
FORWARD works primarily with women and girls in African diaspora communities to tackle the practice of FGM in the UK through community engagement, youth activism and advocacy. The film has been shown in UK schools and been so successful that a second version, entitled My Body, My Rules, has been made and sent out to 50 schools in the UK. Another version, the Story of Ghati and Rhobi, has been made for distribution in Africa and is currently being used by schools and communities in Tanzania.
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