Girls Impact the World Film Festivals

“Dear five-year-old me,” the film’s teenage narrator begins. “Something is going to happen to you this year. Something that you won’t want to talk about. I want you to know that no matter how comforting silence seems to be, it will only hurt you in the long run.”

The film cuts to old family snapshots in which a blond girl smiles shyly. “Strive to be strong instead of perfect,” the narrator goes on to tell her younger self. “Courage is Point B, and how would we get there without starting at Point A?” Point B, Kathryn Harhai’s powerful short film about breaking the silence of sexual abuse, won a grand prize at the Girls Impact the World Film Festival. It is one of hundreds of entries submitted each year by young people from around the world.

Connecther founder Lila Igram launched the festival in 2012 along with Harvard student Kerry Hammond, in partnership with the Harvard College Social Innovation Collaborative. High school and college students submit original 3- to 5-minute focusing on issues affecting women and girls globally, such as education for girls, sex trafficking, and redefining beauty.

Participants are encouraged to use their films start a global conversation about critical women’s issues. The Girls Impact the World Film Festival “launched my career as a social activist and changemaker,” says Rebecca Dharmapalan. Her short film about sex trafficking, International Boulevard, won the Grand Prize at the Girls Impact the World Film Festival in 2013. Today she is making a feature-length documentary that expands on that theme. In 2016 she gave a TEDxTeen talk about sex trafficking and the dehumanization of women of color. She has been featured as one of Teen Vogue’s “21 under 21,” and one of Glamour’s 2017 “College Women of the Year.”

Each year at our Red Carpet Event, attendees celebrate award-winning films. Cash prizes of over $20K are awarded by a distinguished panel of judges. Past and present judges include Christy Turlington (founder of Every Mother Counts), Eloise DeJoria (actress and philanthropist), Muhammad Yunus, (Nobel Peace Prize winner, Jeff Skoll (founder of Participant Media and the Skoll Foundation), and Ian Somerhalder (actor and co­founder of the IS Foundation). To spark youth activism, in 2016 we launched the Girls Impact the World Film Festival global chapters. Now from Melbourne to Mumbai, students meet to watch films and support each other’s efforts to create social change. To learn more about Girls Impact the World and to view past winners, please visit us at connecther.org/gitw. Contact filmfest@connecther.org for more details.

Learn more about The 2017 GITWFF

I want to bring awareness to the injustices women and girls face around the world.


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