Image from The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo
Great news from Women Make Movies: “Although only 25 percent of the films in the festival’s four feature-length Documentary and Dramatic competition categories were directed by women, they won 50 percent of the top prizes.”
The full press release:
New York, NY – Lisa F. Jackson’s extraordinary film, THE GREATEST SILENCE: RAPE IN THE CONGO, has won the Special Jury Prize: Documentary at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. A recent acquisition of Women Make Movies (WMM) and a project from the WMM Production Assistance Program, this intimate and piercing film explores the epidemic of rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Produced in association with HBO Documentary Films and the Fledgling Fund, THE GREATEST SILENCE: RAPE IN THE CONGO will have its broadcast premiere on HBO in April 2008.
Shot in the war zones of the DRC, THE GREATEST SILENCE: RAPE IN THE CONGO documents the shocking plight of the many tens of thousands of women and girls being systematically kidnapped, raped, mutilated and tortured by soldiers from both foreign militias and the Congolese army. Until now, the stories of these women have never been told to the rest of the world. A survivor of gang rape herself, Emmy-Award® winning filmmaker Lisa F. Jackson traveled through the DRC to understand what is happening and why. Heart-wrenching in its portrayal of the grotesque realities of life in Congo, this powerful film also provides inspiring examples of resiliency, resistance, courage and grace.
This is the second consecutive year that a WMM release has won an award at the Sundance Film Festival. ENEMIES OF HAPPINESS by Eva Mulvad and Anja Al-Erhayem won the World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary in 2007. This inspiring film is a powerful portrait of Malalai Joya – a courageous, extraordinary woman who was elected to the newly formed democratic parliament in Afghanistan.
“We are so thrilled that the jury chose to honor such an important film on a critical subject,” said Debra Zimmerman, Executive Director, Women Make Movies. “It’s also exciting to see the success of women filmmakers at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.”
Although only 25 percent of the films in the festival’s four feature-length Documentary and Dramatic competition categories were directed by women, they won 50 percent of the top prizes. Courtney Hunt’s FROZEN RIVER garnered the Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic and TROUBLE THE WATER by Tia Lessin and Carl Deal took the Grand Jury Prize: Documentary. In addition, two of the festival’s four directing awards went to films by women: AMERICAN TEEN by Nanette Burstein (Directing Award: Documentary) and MERMAID by Anna Melikyan (World Cinema Directing Award: Dramatic).