A Film of Pankisi Women's Lives
The Women's Council of the Pankisi Gorge in the Republic of Georgia advises the all-male Council of Elders on women's rights and issues. They want the elders to hear the voices of women, old and young.
We've funded a film to tell their stories. The film is finished! Thanks to all who supported our project. Let us know if you'd like to host a screening.
The Pankisi Gorge
"Crushing poverty and stinging prejudice don't hide behind the spectacular beauty and natural abundance of the Gorge; they all live along side each other in the tension of the paradox, where the Kists and Chechen people live. This is the place their stories talk about."
This is a Muslim region in the northeast of the Republic of Georgia, close to the Chechen border. Chechen refugees mix with Kists whose families have lived in the same area for generation after generation. Read more ...
Suze Rutherford was the Peace Corps volunteer who listened to the Women's Council when they said they wanted to share their stories. She found the filmmaker and started this project. Read more ...
Lives & Hopes
"Our stark reality is one of relentless poverty, crushing hardship, stinging prejudice, and the yearning for a better life. It blankets 2 little boys, who live in a cowshed offering no comfort or warmth. It makes fighting a jihad in Syria seem attractive to more than 100 of our young men, 4 of whom died there this summer. It makes our girls not question teenage marriage and motherhood, or dropping out of school. It crushes creativity and dreams of a better life by offering no means of realizing hopes for the future. It makes it difficult to see the value of education when there are no jobs. Or if one does have a job, and only 10% here do, it pays next to nothing."
The women speak of hardship and sorrow, but also of connection and hope. Read more ...
The Film Project
"Not too long ago, I asked the women of Pankisi who serve on the Women's Council as a voice for women's rights and issues to the all-male Council of Elders, what they want. And they said they wanted to tell their stories – to the people of Georgia, to other Muslim women's groups, to the world. They didn't want a hand-out or even a hand-up. They wanted to be heard, to matter." -- Suze Rutherford
Read the history of the story project and the film on the Gleaning Stories page at IF.
Patricia Boiko, an award-winning documentary film maker in Seattle, and author Miriam Ruth Black came to the Pankisi Gorge this year to make a documentary film of the lives and voices of women there. The film is complete.
Read more ...
Preparing for the Film
For a glimpse at how the women prepared for the film, see the first Blog post for the project.