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DOCUMENTARY-SHORT OSCAR® NOMINATION
Penn Student Claire Sliney Produced the Oscar®-Nominated Film While in High School with Students and Their English Teacher
LOS ANGELES, January 25, 2019 -- Earlier this week, the documentary-short PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE. received a nomination for the 91st Academy Awards®. Directed by Rayka Zehtabchi, the film was produced by Oakwood High School English teacher Melissa Berton and two Oakwood parents, Lisa Taback and Garrett Schiff. Claire Sliney, now a student at Penn, serves as an executive producer on the film along with a group of her fellow high school students.
Period. End of Sentence. screened across the United States at film festivals throughout the summer and full of 2018, winning the AFI Audience Award for Best Doc Short, Traverse City Jury Best Doc Short, Savannah Film Festival Best Doc Short and many others.
The documentary began with a group of young feminist Oakwood students who wanted to know why girls in their partner schools abroad -- as far-reaching as India, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone -- were leaving school at an alarming rate, just after they started to get their periods. The Oakwood students discovered there was a severe lack of access to sanitary products and an even greater dearth of educational health awareness in many of these communities.
The Oakwood students learned their counterparts often felt ashamed of their periods and would be rendered helpless by this natural process of womanhood. Consequently, period-shaming was reaching epic proportions and stories of suicides in Indian villages attributed to this were increasing.
With urgent curiosity and progressive awareness, the Oakwood students wanted to take action. The group worked with the Feminist Majority Foundation’s high school program, Girls Learn International. They worked closely to research and ultimately purchase a locally-manufactured machine that can produce sanitary pads for an entire rural village. The business-in-a-box could also offer an additional opportunity for the women these communities: a micro-business making and selling the pads.
Armed with this plan, the Oakwood students embarked on a fundraising journey with vegan bake sales, yoga-thons and two successful Kickstarter campaigns in order to fund the machine and supplies. Aware that their efforts could have a greater impact by sharing this journey on a more amplified scale, the girls produced a documentary that they hoped would encourage others to join this philanthropic effort. Now producers themselves, the students hired director Rayka Zehtabchi, a recent graduate of the USC Film School.
The film continues to inspire students to realize their power in thinking globally and recognize the impact young women can create. Period. End of Sentence. is coming soon on Netflix. The 91st Academy Awards® will occur on February 24 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles and will air live on ABC.