UNVEILED explores the Pakistani tribal region of Waziristan, where females are forbidden to attend school, listen to music, or walk outside unescorted or uncovered, and the idea of a female athlete is an anathema. As the living embodiment of that radical idea, Maria Toorpakai has been a target of Taliban death threats since the age of sixteen. But against all odds, she is the top-ranked female squash player in all of Pakistan. From the excitement of a high-stakes international squash tournament to the dangers of driving through Taliban-controlled territory, director Erin Heidenreich captures both the peril and the perseverance of an athlete who dares to defy those who seek to contain her.
On this edition of the Women’s Film Institute podcast, host, Scarlett Shepard, speaks with author and journalist A’Lelia Bundles about her book On Her Own Ground, which is slated to become a TV series about entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political and social activist, Madam C.J. Walker (1867–1919). A’Lelia Bundles shares the legacy of her great-great-grandmother, Madam C.J. Walker, the country’s first African-American millionaire, who helped women become entrepreneurs in the 20th century. Kasi Lemmons is attached to direct the series. Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer has signed on to play Madam C.J. Walker, and will become a producer of the show. LeBron James, in association with his production company, SpringHill Entertainment, has joined the team as an executive producer. The series is still in development for the kind of limited series we’ve come to expect on Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, and Amazon Prime.
Madam C.J. Walker’s story is one that should be in all history books. She worked as a washerwoman, making as little as $1.50 per day. She suffered from hair loss, and created a shampoo and scalp ointment to remedy her condition. She called it, “Wonderful Hair Grower,” and in 1910, she built a hair training school and factory, the headquarters of the Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Co. The company trained thousands of African-Americans to become “Walker Agents,” and provided opportunities to women who otherwise would have been maids, cooks, and laundresses to gain financial independence.
“I got my start by giving myself a start.” – Madam C.J. Walker
By the time Madam C.J. Walker died in May 1919, she and her teaching faculty had trained more than 20,000 Walker agents. Tune in to our latest podcast episode with A’Lelia Bundles, and learn how Madam C.J. Walker inspired women to become entrepreneurs in the 20th century.
In this podcast episode, Scarlett Shepard (Founder of the Women’s Film Institute) speaks with feminist lawyer and activist Gloria Allred about her passion for fighting for victims’ rights and women’s rights. Gloria talks about the upcoming 95th anniversary of how women won the right to vote. Have you ever wondered what Gloria Allred would do if she were President of the United States? Tune in to find out. Listen here:
This podcast episode was part of Women’s Equality Day 2015! The Women’s Film Institute was proud to co-sponsor the West Hollywood City Council and the West Hollywood Women’s Advisory Board for an empowering and inspirational event commemorating the 95th anniversary of the certification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote in the United States. The celebration featured an address by special guest speakersGloria Allred, Attorney, Women’s and Civil Rights Activist and founding partner of Allred, Maroko & Goldenberg (AM&G) and Lisa Bloom, Attorney, NBC News Legal Analyst, and founding partner of The Bloom Firm. The event featured video shorts, a raffle, and an interactive photobooth and followed by a reception. The Women’s Film Institute was proud to co-present the following short films at the event:
Syria: Brides of Peace – In the early days of Syria’s uprising, sisters Kinda and Lubna Zaour walked through the main souk in Damascus dressed as brides, a symbol of love, and carried banners calling for peace. They were arrested almost immediately. Upon their release, each sister became a bride once again under circumstances that also called for tremendous bravery: in the midst of a sectarian war and despite death threats from their extended family, both married outside of their religion.
‘Miss Todd‘ is a short, animated musical about the first woman in the world to build and design an airplane, made at the National Film and Television School, England.