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Film preview: 'Girl Rising' vividly shows education's importance

Published: Saturday, March 16 2013 1:30 p.m. MDT

“We had a couple of things going for us, including obviously a great cause,” Robbins says. “There was a fairly minimal investment on their part because we weren’t asking them to travel to these countries but just to spend a few hours on a sound stage. And we were very lucky in that the first person we signed on was Meryl Streep, and once you have Meryl Streep everyone wants to be in a Meryl Streep movie.”

“This film gives visual corroboration to knowledge we already have: Educating women and girls has the most optimistic, positive effects on families, communities and economies worldwide,” Streep has said. “If to see it is to know it, this film delivers hope; reasonable, measurable, tangible hope that the world can be healed and helped to a better future.”

Robbins is using a service called Gathr, which bills itself as “theatrical on demand,” to get his film released and into theaters.

“The old model of distribution doesn’t work that well for independent films,” he says. “To put something in theaters and advertise it broadly to let people know that it’s out there is both expensive and not efficient. We feel like we know who our audience is, and a lot of our audience we are in very good touch with. We knew we could save the money, which frankly we didn’t have anyway, and focus on social media and word of mouth, getting many more bodies into theaters at a much lower cost. This distribution is really the future of independent filmmaking.”

A portion of “Girl Rising” ticket sales goes to a network of nonprofit partners and leaders in girls’ education that includes Girl Up/United Nations Foundation, Partners in Health, Plan International USA, UNICEF, and World Vision.

“Individuals really can make a difference,” he summarizes. “We’re no longer in an era when we send a $20 check into the abyss and hope that it reaches someone deserving. And very often people think there is nothing that can do and feel paralyzed with the number of choices of what they might do but can’t figure out what they should do.

“It’s very easy in this day and age to get involved with an organization that’s doing important work in the field, to get involved in your own community in terms of spreading awareness.”

For more information, visit girlrising.com.

Facts About the Impact of Girls’ Education

Globally, 66 million girls out of school (UNESCO).

Eighty percent of all human-trafficking victims are girls (UNFPA).

There are 33 million fewer girls than boys in primary school (Education First).

Seventy-five percent of AIDS cases in sub-Saharan Africa, the region hardest hit by the disease, are women and girls (UNAIDS).

In a single year, an estimated 150 million girls are victims of sexual violence (UNIFEM).

Girls with eight years of education are four times less likely to be married as children (National Academies Press).

A child born to a literate mother is 50 percent more likely to survive past the age of 5 (UNESCO).

If India enrolled 1 percent more girls in secondary school, the country’s GDP would rise by $5.5 billion. (CIA World Factbook / Global Campaign for Education)

If you go …

What: “Girl Rising” screening including Q&A with filmmaker Richard E. Robbins

Where: Park City’s Eccles Center

When: on Wednesday, March 20, 7 p.m.

How much: $5-$15

Tickets: 435-655-3114 or ecclescenter.org

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