Writer-director Jessica Vale, with producer Nika Offenbac, are making a powerful documentary film called Small Small Thing about the epidemic of rape in Liberia, focusing on the story of a mother working for justice after her young daughter is raped. Today, rape is the #1 crime in Liberia. Vale and Offenbac (with co-producer Barnie Jones) have spent the last three years making this film which is currently in post-production and raising funds through Kickstarter. Together, Vale and Offenbac are founders of the Take My Picture LLC production company in New York City dedicated to the pursuit of long form non-fiction works.
Trailer and Pitch:
Crowdfunding through: Kickstarter
Campaign goal: $25,000
Days left on campaign: Less than a day (28 hours / deadline April 8)
Caught between tribalism and democracy, a Liberian mother is at odds with her country after the brutal rape of her six-year old daughter.
“As we were there, we had to navigate the same channels that she and her mother were also trying to navigate to find out their own answers.”
– Jessica Vale, director
“If this were to happen here in the United States, maybe she could get therapy. There’s no such thing as therapy in Liberia…. [S]he represents thousands of little girls behind her that we haven’t met; we haven’t heard their stories.”
– Barnie Jones, co-producer
Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her work in women’s issues. Yet according to U.N. statistics in 2012, rape is still the #1 crime in Liberia, and the majority of the victims are children. Médecins Sans Frontières in Liberia reports their youngest survivor at 21 months old.
Small Small Thing begins at JFK Hospital in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, and urban center of this West African country. Olivia is 9 years old, severely malnourished and handicapped. Her condition is life threatening. Believing her injuries to be the result of witchcraft, Olivia’s mother had been hiding her for years. The doctors conclude her condition is the result of a brutal rape that took place when Olivia was 7 years old. When pressured to reveal her rapist, Olivia names her cousin.
This diagnosis has severe consequences. Originally from deep in the Liberian jungle, Olivia and her mother are shunned from their tribe for seeking outside help. They are left stranded in Monrovia at the mercy of President Sirleaf’s government, facing the most difficult decision of all. What price are they willing to pay for justice?
Jessica Vale (Writer/Director)
Nika Offenbac and Jessica Vale (Producers)
Barnie Jones (Co-producer)
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