One of the best ways to learn about the world and its many peoples is by listening to stories. When underrepresented groups are given the chance to share — and to be heard — it can broaden others’ worldviews. Documentaries hold this power in a special way, transporting us directly into situations we could never dream about.
This week’s crowdfunding picks feature three documentaries made by women. They all capture a unique perspective on the world while chronicling the history of a specific people and place.
“The Secret Lives of Flowers” follows four teenage artists over eight years as they grow up in an era of instability in Morocco. “Left Bank” recounts the untold history of the four feminist women behind author James Joyce. Finally, “Nurse Unseen” documents the unusually large toll the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Filipino nurses.
Here are Women and Hollywood’s latest crowdfunding picks.
In this documentary, filmmaker Michelle Medina follows four teenage artists from Morocco as they navigate growing up while creating art during a period of instability in their country. Spanning eight years, the film explores coming-of-age in an environment full of turmoil and how their art raises their voices amidst the chaos.
Sara is an architect and mixed media artist struggling to embrace her intersecting identities and find her place in the world. Her sister, Nisrine, is a fashion designer and color and textile artist who challenges beauty standards in her work. Photographer and storyteller Imane describes herself as a nomad and an eternal student of the world. Alia is a photographer and mixed media artist who pushes the definitions of how we present ourselves in modern society.
“Their ambitions and dreams for free expression, equality, and justice and a place to call home, mirror the cause of the uprisings of that time,” states the project’s Kickstarter campaign. “Their journeys cannot be separated from the journey of the region that began but has not ended with the Arab Spring. Whatever happened to the girls would tell us everything about the potential and fragility of the movement and its hope for the future. They are and were, like their generation, the flowers of a moment and a movement, full of potential, strong and fragile.”
While many may know that Sylvia Beach published James Joyce’s novel “Ulysses” in 1922 when no one else would, not many know the story of Beach and the three other feminist women who contributed to Joyce’s success.
“Society is eager to shine a light on the often unacknowledged role women have played in history and the influence they had on men in politics, science, and literature,” states this doc’s Kickstarter campaign. “‘Left Bank’ seeks to reveal the true story of the unsung women behind a literary giant and the secret feminist history of a revolutionary bookshop in Paris.”
In “Left Bank,” filmmakers Lisa Reznik and Margaux Dupont are reframing Joyce’s story and revealing the women’s point of view for the first time. In addition to bookshop owner and publicist Beach, the film will reveal the stories of Adrienne Monnier, an entrepreneur and innovator; Harriet Weaver, an independent publisher and feminist; and Nora Barnacle Joyce, Joyce’s wife and muse.
This hybrid documentary will use a mix of interviews, archival images, graphics, animations, and scripted scenes to tell the women’s stories.
COVID-19 and conversations around healthcare in the U.S. have brought many inequities to light — but one such disparity nurse and filmmaker Michele Josue has not seen discussed is the overwhelming number of Filipino nurses who have lost their lives due to the pandemic.
According to a study by National Nurses United, Filipinos make up only four percent of nurses in the U.S. yet account for over 25 percent of nurses’ deaths due to COVID-19. “Nurse Unseen” will explore why the pandemic has taken such an overwhelming toll on the Filipino nursing community.
After seeing these alarming statistics, the filmmakers “immediately set out to understand why this was happening to our community,” they said in their Kickstarter campaign. “As we began researching and filming, we soon realized we were witnessing the repercussions of the complex, over-a-century-long history of Filipino nurses playing out in the lives of Filipino nurses and Filipino-Americans today.”
The film will feature testimonials from Filipino nurses on the frontlines, a veteran nurse who battled COVID for eight months, academics and historians, and families dealing with the loss of their loved ones. The majority Filipino crew is looking to share this story with the world.
To be considered for Women and Hollywood’s biweekly crowdfunding feature, please write to email@example.com. All formats (features, shorts, web series, etc.) welcome. Projects must be by and/or about women.