World Premiere of GIRL ICON at SXSW 2019 Film Festival
Official ‘Girl Icon’ Poster by  Gary Claire

Official ‘Girl Icon’ Poster by Gary Claire

Our Malala Fund Virtual Reality documentary GIRL ICON has its world premiere at SXSW in March. Created by Espii Studios & little GIANT Wolf , directed by Sadah Espii Proctor and produced by our own Skye Von for the Malala Fund and Oculus's VR for Good.

Director of ‘Girl Icon' Sadah Espii Proctor (Espii Studios) & Producer of ‘Girl Icon' Skye Von (little GIANT Wolf)

Director of ‘Girl Icon' Sadah Espii Proctor (Espii Studios) & Producer of ‘Girl Icon' Skye Von (little GIANT Wolf)

The film is an experimental VR documentary about Rani, the girl child from a family relegated to washing clothes because of caste in Varanasi determined to get an education.

“I want girls to look at me and think they can achieve anything they want," says 17-year-old Rani, from Varanasi, India.

Rani with fellow students

Rani with fellow students

Her family has been destined to wash clothing by the caste culture of their society. But growing up in a community that believes girls should stay at home, do chores, and get married, doesn't stop her. Rani is determined to finish school and go to college. As we follow Rani, she gives us an intimate glimpse of her hopes, frustrations, and dreams.

Rani takes karate in hopes to get string because she wants to become an Army Officer.

Rani takes karate in hopes to get string because she wants to become an Army Officer.

This project is part of the Oculus's VR for Good. Creators Lab program in partnership with Malala Fund and Milaan Foundation. Oculus VR for Good Creators Lab is an initiative designed to support content creators, impact innovators and inspire partners who see virtual reality as a way to make the world a better place.

The Girl Icon team in Varanasi - (right to left) Sadah Espii Proctor (Espii Studios), Bhumika Regmi (Malala Fund), Natalie Au (Espii Studios), Rani Kanaujia, Laura Cunningham, Skye Von (little GIANT Wolf), Taposh Roy (Milaan Foundation)

The Girl Icon team in Varanasi - (right to left) Sadah Espii Proctor (Espii Studios), Bhumika Regmi (Malala Fund), Natalie Au (Espii Studios), Rani Kanaujia, Laura Cunningham, Skye Von (little GIANT Wolf), Taposh Roy (Milaan Foundation)

Thanks to everyone who contributed to making this film!

Created by Espii Studios & little GIANT Wolf

Director: Sadah Espii Proctor / Espii Studios

Producer: Skye Von / little GIANT Wolf

Executive Producer: Amy Seidenwurm / Oculus

Producer: Lauren Burmaster / Oculus

Producer: Paula Cuneo / Oculus

360 Production Sound Recordist: Laura Cunningham

Director of Photography: Sadah Espii Proctor

India Production Coordinator: Taposh Roy / Milaan Foundation

Production/Camera Assistant: Natalie Au

Production Assistant: Rahul Verma

Post Supervisor: Skye Von / little GIANT Wolf

Editor: Jhernie Evangelista / Temme Media

Editor: Lucia Galindo Martinez

Assistant Editor : Jeremy Gross

Quill Animator: Micah Milner / Art 404

360 Spatial Audio Mix: Maria Claudia Mora

Audio Mix: Tovi Rodríguez / BtOVEN MUSIC

Music: Arian Saleh

Score: Susmita Chakraborty & Sandip Bhattacharjee

Voice Over Actor: Kuhoo Verma

Post Production: Flight School

Executive Producer: Taylor Williams

Producer: Julia Gibson

Lead Stitching Artist: Matt Stocks

Stitching Artists: Syngman Pyun, Ryan Hartsell

VFX Artist Laychin Lee, Mike Roy

Colorist: Laychin Lee

Stereo Graphics: Ryan Hartsell

Audio QC: Frank Pittenger

Skye Von (little GIANT Wolf) setting up and testing for the bike camera shot

Skye Von (little GIANT Wolf) setting up and testing for the bike camera shot

Shot with Insta360 Pro and LucidCam cameras

Production support: Radiant Images

Oculus partners in VR For Good: Radiant Images, Flight School, Insta360

Sadah Espii Proctor & Natalie Au (Espii Studios)

Sadah Espii Proctor & Natalie Au (Espii Studios)

We would like to thank:

Shubhra Prakash, Bhumika Regmi, Hannah Orenstein, Sunita Sharma, Eli Rai, Alyssa Newlon, Sybil Steele, Pulkit Datta, Nonita Verma, Richa Rudola, Simon Taufique, Subhi, Estella Cisco-Dalrymple, Robert Dalrymple, Keith Proctor, Ingrid Knight, Joyous Pierce, Hardware Hack Lab, J. Dakota Powell, Safi Thomas, Yvonne Chow, Maria Fraguas Jover, April Yvette Thompson, Ron Simons, Stacey Matthew, Kari Margolis, Tony Brown, Bob Leonard, Ann Kilkelly, Bob McGrath, Wi-Moto Nyoka, Michaela Holland, Helen Situ, Jenn Duong, Vernon Jordan III, Scott Kleinberger, Nate Hamlin, Stina Hamlin.

SXSW SCHEDULE:

VIRTUAL CINEMA
JW MARRIOTT
GRIFFIN HALL

Mar 11-13, 2019

11:00am —6:00pm


We hope to see you in Austin for the world premiere of GIRL ICON 🐺

Rani walking through her hometown Varanasi

Rani walking through her hometown Varanasi

Photos © Skye Von

Digital Waves

Recent years have shown us what an impact the Internet can have on our real world lives. It can shape public opinion, shift tastes, and launch careers. As it stands now, barring any catastrophic event, the Internet seems to be permanent and on a growth trajectory. This article, originally published in the Huffington Post, discusses activism in the digital space, its successes and its criticisms. We hope you enjoy reading it and we hope it inspires you in your own cause.

Digital Activism Comes Of Age: Technology Is Creating New Space For Marginalized Voices

05/04/2017 11:40 am ET Updated May 18, 2017

JHATKAA  A still from a viral parody music video pressuring Unilever to pay compensation to 591 victims of mercury poisoning.

JHATKAA

A still from a viral parody music video pressuring Unilever to pay compensation to 591 victims of mercury poisoning.

By Koketso Moeti

Braving below zero temperatures this winter in Ottawa Canada, activists descended on the headquarters of Shopify, an ecommerce platform, to deliver a 200,000 strong petition. The petition, organised by SumOfUs, a consumer watch-dog, together with Sleeping Giants, an anonymous group of activists, calls on shopify to stop supporting sales of merchandise produced by the extreme right-wing U.S. news site Breitbart.

This was just the latest move in a successful campaign launched last year that aims to pressure companies to pull their advertisements from the Breitbart site. Using social media, Sleeping Giants asked people to take screenshots of the ads and then email or tweet the company involved to make them aware they are tacitly endorsing and financing right wing propaganda. So far more than 1,400 companies have heeded the call, including Nordstrom, Warby Parker and Mercedes-Benz. Now the campaign has Shopify in its sights.

These actions are a timely reminder that although new technologies can reinforce existing inequalities (because those with more power often have the best access) they can also help us fight back. Across the globe the web and mobile technology have offered creative ways to organise, share information and mobilise people for collective action.

The power of going viral

In Kondaikanal, India, hundreds of workers were affected by mercury exposure at what used to be the Hindustan Unilever thermometer factory. Jhatkaa, a non-partisan group that uses digital technology to mobilise Indian citizens to hold decision makers accountable, decided to take on Unilever—a corporation worth billions. A breakthrough came in March 2016 following the release of a parody music video which went viral, receiving almost four million views and even a tweet from Nicki Minaj. The video was part of a solidarity campaign supported by over 90, 000 people. Suddenly the struggle of a small forgotten community of some 600 workers was amplified and supported by tens of thousands. Unilever finally agreed to pay compensation to 591 victims of mercury poisoning on “humanitarian grounds”.

Jhatkaa isn’t the only organisation using opportunities of the digital space to fight for a more just world. In the United States we have seen groups such as Color of Change, Black Lives Matter and Dream Defenders use mobile and web technology as a means of counter-speech, to organise events and to document incidents of racial injustice.

In Kenya, technology expert Nanjira wrote about the pervasive practice of having all male panels. That led to the use of the hashtag #SayNoToManelsKE on social media. Together with Ory Okolloh, they put together an open, online database of women speakers to counter the fallacious argument that there aren’t women qualified or willing to show up.

From digital to direct action

Digital action, or “Slactivism” as it’s sometimes called, has its critics. It’s seen as providing all the satisfaction and little of the skin in the game that in-person protest requires. The sketch comedy show Portlandia recently skewered the practice, invoking the notion that slactivists fail to practice what they preach. Those that dismiss the use of digital tools as a means of organising often do so by invoking the false distinction between ‘real’ activists and ‘online’ activists, what Malcolm Gladwell in 2010 called ‘small change’.

And yet, my own experience at amandla.mobi also points to the power of digital activism. During the protests against the cost of tuition at South Africa’s higher education institutions under the banner ‘Fees Must Fall,’ some of our members wanted to show solidarity with the students but were unable to join them on the streets. So at amandla.mobi we enabled our members to support in other ways. When universities cut off their Wi-Fi, we were able to provide data to protesting students that allowed them to continue to broadcast what was happening at their campuses. The money raised also paid for meals, allowed injured students to get medical care, or to pay for their bail.

What happens in the digital space can and does have a real world impact. Despite being from different countries and working on different issues, all the examples cited above used technology to mount effective campaigns that moved beyond short term viral sensations in the digital space to have sustained impact in the public sphere.

In her TED talk , social commentator Sisonke Msimang describes how stories and news - as important as they are - are often not enough to push people into taking action. Knowing about injustice is often not enough to persuade people to do anything about it. But building engagement in the digital space acts as a springboard to motivate and enable people to take more direct action.

The growth of digital activism should not be seen as the antithesis of traditional modes of organising, but rather as a means of enabling and supplementing offline actions, a creative way of bringing people together to take collective action on issues that matter. We should be embracing the power of new technologies and using them for the greater good.

Koketso Moeti is founder of amandla.mobi and an Aspen New Voices Fellow. Follow her on Twitter @kmoeti.


Original article can be found at https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/digital-activism-comes-of-age-technology-is-creating_us_590b498ae4b046ea176ae884

Andra Moldav