25 June 2008

Fans Inspired By The Power of Women

Silverdocs has become the preeminent doc fest in the US with its beautiful 400 seat refurbished art-deco theater as a centerpiece. "A Powerful Noise" was lucky enough to screen there on Friday night to a sold out house. Once again after the film fans were standing in appreciation of the work from the women in the film and others around the world. It is inspiring to see the film emotionally affect so many people.

Ms. Hanh from Vietnam was in attendance for a panel discussion after the film. She was overwhelmed by people's reaction to her story and was inspired that her work resonated with American crowds. Prior to the screening, she was able to speak at the American Psychological Association and discuss the mental anguish of living with HIV/AIDS. Our translator from the film, Chi Mai, said the room of professionals were in tears as she spoke. She was also able to share her story at the CARE National Conference where volunteer participants from around the country visit political leaders from their states to push legislation to help women around the world. I think the message to Capitol Hill was a little more urgent after meeting Ms. Hanh face-to-face. It is amazing how big of heart and tenacity of will Ms. Hanh has to face the stigma of living with the virus in Vietnam and tackle it head on to stop discrimination.

After the screening, I met Amy Kelly, owner of Trinity Health Clubs near Dulles Airport. She was inspired to be a part of our grassroots effort and host a screening fundraiser at her club in the fall. It is this type of activism we are hoping to drive as our film gains festival buzz and reaches out into the mainstream. Amy wrote me a long email about how the film changed her outlook on life and inspired her to make a difference beyond what she is doing for cancer patients at her health club. And she summed up the meaning of the film so perfectly:

"I have seen other films about the struggles of women in other countries, but never one that combined the loss, the strength, the hope and the ENTREPRENEURSHIP of women in such dire circumstances."

This is what I hope more and more audiences begin to realize as they experience "A Powerful Noise" and join the women's empowerment movement to solve global poverty.