A New Short Film Shares One Woman’s Experience with Fistula
Fistula Foundation has produced a short documentary called Facing Fistula, and it will make its world premiere in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the Worldwide Women’s Film Festival on Saturday, February 18!
This 8-minute film shares the story of Beatrice—a young woman in Kenya who learns that there is a cure for her “curse.”
The Making of Facing Fistula
Obstetric fistula is a little-known condition, yet it ranks as one of the most debilitating injuries in the world. From day one, our goal for Facing Fistula has been to close the awareness gap about obstetric fistula by sharing the story of one woman’s experience. Pre-production work on the film began in February 2021, and our team began shooting with Beatrice in the fall of the same year.
When the film crew found Beatrice, she had been suffering needlessly with fistula for eight years. She had been abandoned by her husband and was struggling to take care of her five children. She was dejected; surgery was her only hope.
We created this film to bring attention to the plight of all women who are living with obstetric fistula. We hope that by documenting Beatrice’s story, we will move audiences to appreciate the life-transforming impact of surgery on a woman’s life. When people learn about fistula, their eyes are opened to the injustices that surround women living in poverty. We hope to move audiences from a place of newfound awareness to purposeful action.
“Our crew worked hard to ensure that the film would tell Beatrice’s story from her point of view and stay true to her,” said director Morgan Walter (who serves as Fistula Foundation’s digital media manager). “I hope that as a result audiences will feel that they are walking alongside Beatrice throughout her journey. The truth is that her experience is like that of one million other women living with obstetric fistula today.”
An Inside Look
Our vision for Facing Fistula was to convey the full arc of a woman’s journey to healing. Finding the right woman to tell that story required extensive coordination, because many women with fistula live in remote, rural areas.
From day one of pre-production, the crew worked closely with Habiba and local staff to identify a woman to feature in this project. When the crew met Beatrice, it was clear that her story could bring to life the message that we wanted to share.
By the time we completed production, we had a wealth of footage to review. In editing the film, we focused on showing Beatrice’s emotional journey and on telling the story from her point of view. To achieve this goal, we took great care with the story material during post-production. We were tactical about the number of voices to include in the story, how to use music to enhance the film without over-dramatizing it, and how much contextual footage was needed to drop viewers into Beatrice’s world.
“What works so well about Facing Fistula is that the audience gets to walk with Beatrice every step of the way on her healing journey,” said Walter. “We cry when she cries, and we rejoice when she rejoices.”
Spread the Word
You can help us raise awareness about obstetric fistula and promote the documentary by following us on social and sharing posts about the film.
For more information about the film, and about other opportunities to view it, visit our Facing Fistula page.
Published on February 15, 2023