¡PODER! tells the real life story of two indigenous girls in Guatemala named Elba and Emelin who challenged their local officials to create new policies and funding to ensure girls in their community had access to education and healthcare. In a town where only 10% of Mayan girls finish their primary education and more than 50% get pregnant and have babies before they turn 18, the need for girl-friendly programs couldn't be more critical. Elba and Emelin helped convince their Mayor to invest in girls programs which led to $250,000USD in funding and a new Office for Women and Girls in their small town.
While most of the filmmaker's work centers around issues facing women and girls, many of Lisa's films are documentaries and often tell the tragic realities on lack of access to programs. With ¡PODER!, she decided to tell a story about empowerment and had a production process to back it up.
Lisa wrote the script for the film after several interviews by phone and in person with Elba and Emelin. She then traveled to the Western highlands of Guatemala and worked with the girls and their community allies to act out the story, where the girls played themselves and the small town acted as the film set. She bookended the film with animation and had a first person narrator help drive the story. Jennifer Buffett, a strong advocate for girls, was also an animated character in the film.
The film is having a series of select screenings before its online premiere which included a showing at the UN's Commission on the Status of Women and a community screening with 60+ girls of color at the Boys and Girls Club in Brooklyn.
¡PODER! will have its online premiere on April 11, 2014 and will be available in English and Spanish.
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