At her students’ insistence, UCSB professor Kum-Kum Bhavnani got a camera and shot 74 hours of footage of women creating positive change through grassroots projects in remote corners of the world. The result is the hopeful The Shape of Water, which premiered to sold-out crowds at our February film fest and has since gone from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. on the film-fest circuit. Before its May screening in Turkey, we will get a chance to see it for free at UCSB’s MultiCultural Center on Wednesday, April 26 at 6 p.m. Visit the website at theshapeofwatermovie.com. Here are five reasons to go:
(1) Oraiza, Taio, and Doña Antonia are rubber tappers in the Brazilian Amazon who lead us through the processes of carefully collecting latex from the rubber tree’s red bark, discuss rubber’s role in forest preservation, and take us to protests against agribusiness’s environmental degradation.
(2) Khady, Miriam, and other women in Senegal let us eavesdrop on heated conversations surrounding the practice of female circumcision. Through street theater, rap groups, and using cutting knives to plant gardens, we see the process of women initiating the change of cultural practices.
(3) Watch as the Women in Black, begun by Israeli women, stand at a major Jerusalem traffic intersection to protest the Israeli occupation of Palestine. They’ve since become icons.
(4) India’s Self-Employed Women’s Association joins more than 700,000 women in an effort for self-empowering entrepreneurship through loans or micro-credit. Watch kite makers at work and stroll through a bustling marketplace, all supported by SEWA.
(5) In the foothills of the majestic Himalayas, we visit Navdanya, a farm dedicated to bucking the trend of agribusiness and chemical company-controlled seeds to visit a group of women acting as seed-keepers to maintain independence for farmers.