Film screening: "Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter"
September 8, 2009
On Thursday, Sept. 10, the Sundance Institute Film Series will explore issues of human rights and asylum with a screening of "Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter" at the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave, at 7 p.m. Filmmakers Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater will be joined by Gerald Brown, Director of the Refugee Service Office for the State of Utah, and Erika George, professor of law at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law, for a discussion about the film, human rights, and the local refugee community.
Called a "heart-wrenching testament to the integrity and solidarity of women in the face of staggering adversity" by Ed Gonazalez of the Village Voice, "Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter" explores Mrs. Goundo’s struggle to keep her two year-old daughter, Djenebou, healthy and whole by remaining in the U.S. In order to avoid deportation, Mrs. Goundo must convince a judge that she and her husband would be unable to protect her Djenebou from her well-intentioned grandparents in Mali, who believe all girls should be circumcised. Djenebou’s situation is not isolated — an estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of female excision. Juxtaposing Mrs. Goundo’s life and legal struggles in Philadelphia with scenes and interviews with excisers in Mali, filmmakers Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater delve into the complexities of a deeply-rooted tradition and an international female health issue.
Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater have worked together since 1990 making widely-acclaimed documentaries that have been broadcast nationally and internationally. In 2005, the two Philadelphia-based artists were awarded the prestigious Pew Fellowship in the Arts. Their previous collaboration, Rosita (2005) was broadcast in Latin America on HBO/Cinemax as well as in Europe, Asia and the U.S. "Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter" has screened at Silverdocs/AFI Discovery Channel Film Festival and the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival. For "Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter," Attie and Goldwater were given a 2008 Sundance Documentary Fund grant for their approach to storytelling, artistic treatment and innovation, subject relevance and potential for social engagement.
Gerald Brown has worked with refugees in some capacity since 1980 and as served as the Director of Utah’s Refugee Services Office since its creation in February 2008. Previously, he oversaw local refugee resettlement in Texas, directed a national refugee resettlement program, served as an Asylum Officer in New York City, and worked abroad with refugees in Croatia, Saudi Arabia, Macedonia and Cuba. As an Asylum Officer with the INS in New York City in the 1990s, Gerald was featured in the award-winning documentary "A Well-Founded Fear" about the U.S. asylum process, shown at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, as well as on national television by PBS.
Professor Erika George teaches international human rights and humanitarian law, international law, and civil procedure at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law. Before joining the faculty in 2003, Professor George was a litigation associate in the New York City firm of Coudert Brothers, where she focused on international litigation and arbitration. Previously, she was a fellow with Human Rights Watch, where she conducted on-site investigations of women’s rights, children’s rights, and the right to education. Following a book-length report, Professor George presented her findings of how gender discrimination and violence in South African schools impedes the right to education to the South African government. She has monitored human rights abuses against academics in various countries and addressed the World Education for All Forum convened by the United Nations.
The screening of "Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter" is made possible by support from Principal Sponsor Zions Bank, Major Sponsors Summit County Recreation, Arts, and Parks Program, Salt Lake County and the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau, with in-kind support from City Weekly, KRCL 90.9 FM Community Radio, KXRK "X96" 96.3 FM, Park City Film Series, Park City Marriott, ParkCityWeek.com and UtahFM.