Human Rights, International Law, And Tradition Collide In Mrs. Groundo’s Daughter

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Park City, UT – On Sept. 10, Sundance Institute will explore issues of human rights and asylum with a free screening of Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter, a film about one Malian woman’s journey to protect her daughter. Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter, which was funded by the Sundance Institute Documentary Program, will screen at the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave, at 7:00 p.m. Filmmakers Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater will be joined by Gerald Brown, Director of the Refugee Service Office for the State of Utah, and Erika George, professor of law at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law, for a discussion about the film, human rights, and the local refugee community.

Called a “heart-wrenching testament to the integrity and solidarity of women in the face of staggering adversity” by Ed Gonazalez of the Village Voice, Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter explores Mrs. Goundo’s struggle to keep her two year-old daughter, Djenebou, healthy and whole by remaining in the U.S. In order to avoid deportation, Mrs. Goundo must convince a judge that she and her husband would be unable to protect her Djenebou from her well-intentioned grandparents in Mali, who believe all girls should be circumcised. Djenebou’s situation is not isolated — an estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of female excision. Juxtaposing Mrs. Goundo’s life and legal struggles in Philadelphia with scenes and interviews with excisers in Mali, filmmakers Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater delve into the complexities of a deeply-rooted tradition and an international female health issue.

Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater have worked together since 1990 making widely-acclaimed documentaries that have been broadcast nationally and internationally. In 2005, the two Philadelphia-based artists were awarded the prestigious Pew Fellowship in the Arts. Their previous collaboration, Rosita (2005) was broadcast in Latin America on HBO/Cinemax as well as in Europe, Asia and the U.S. Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter has screened at Silverdocs/AFI Discovery Channel Film Festival and the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival. For Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter, Attie and Goldwater were given a 2008 Sundance Documentary Fund grant for their approach to storytelling, artistic treatment and innovation, subject relevance and potential for social engagement.

Gerald Brown has worked with refugees in some capacity since 1980 and as served as the Director of Utah’s Refugee Services Office since its creation in February 2008. Previously, he oversaw local refugee resettlement in Texas, directed a national refugee resettlement program, served as an Asylum Officer in New York City, and worked abroad with refugees in Croatia, Saudi Arabia, Macedonia and Cuba. As an Asylum Officer with the INS in New York City in the 1990s, Gerald was featured in the award-winning documentary a Well-Founded Fear” about the U.S. asylum process, shown at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, as well as on national television by PBS.

Professor Erika George teaches international human rights and humanitarian law, international law, and civil procedure at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law . Before joining the faculty in 2003, Professor George was a litigation associate in the New York City firm of Coudert Brothers, where she focused on international litigation and arbitration. Previously, she was a fellow with Human Rights Watch, where she conducted on-site investigations of women’s rights, children’s rights, and the right to education. Following a book-length report, Professor George presented her findings of how gender discrimination and violence in South African schools impedes the right to education to the South African government. She has monitored human rights abuses against academics in various countries and addressed the World Education for All Forum convened by the United Nations in Dakar, Senegal, on human rights abuses against children.

The screening of Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter is made possible by support from Principal Sponsor Zions Bank, Major Sponsors Summit County Recreation, Arts, and Parks Program, Salt Lake County and the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau, with in-kind support from City Weekly, KRCL 90.9 FM Community Radio, KXRK “X96” 96.3 FM, Park City Film Series, Park City Marriott, and UtahFM.

Sundance Institute invites you to step inside the world of independent filmmaking each month with the Sundance Institute Film Series. Part screening, part discussion, we’ll showcase work supported by Sundance Institute and give you an opportunity to meet the filmmakers and discuss the films. Additional Sundance Institute Film Series events this fall include:

The Cove
Wednesday, October 7, 2009 | 7:00 p.m.
Park City Library

(Directed by Louie Psihoyos)
Winner of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for U.S. Documentary Film
Dolphins are dying, whales are disappearing, and the oceans are growing sick. The horrors of a secret cove nestled off a small, coastal village in Japan are revealed by a group of activists led by Ric O’Barry, the man behind Flipper.

Feature Film Showcase: Don’t Let Me Drown
Wednesday, November 4, 2009 | 7:00 p.m.
Rose Wagner

(Directed by Cruz Angeles)
Cruz Angeles first brought his film to the 2004 Sundance Institute Directors Lab, and five years later the film premiered at the 2009 Festival. Join him for a discussion following the screening of a film about two Latino teens whose lives are affected by the attack on the World Trade Center and discover that love is the only thing that keeps their heads above water.

Inside the Festival: We Live in Public
Wednesday, December 2, 2009 | 7:00 p.m.
Park City Library

(Directed by Ondi Timoner)
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary
In this film, Timoner offers a fascinating ten-year chronicle of internet pioneer Josh Harris as he launched an art experiment involving more than 100 artists living in a New York City bunker under 24-hour surveillance. Timoner couples Harris’s footage from his exhibitions with rousing vérité of her own for a sexy, yet cautionary tale where we all become Big Brother. Screening will be followed by a discussion with Festival staffers on how to make the most of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

Since 1996, the Sundance Documentary Film Program has supported more than 475 artists in 52 countries, providing a continuum of support throughout the life of a project. Films supported have received widespread distribution to their intended audiences via broadcast and theatrical release, and many have garnered a number of awards and exceptional industry recognition. Films have included My Country, My Country; Iraq in Fragments; Born Into Brothels; The Betrayal (Nerakhoon); and Trouble the Water. In addition to the Sundance Documentary Fund, The Sundance Documentary Film Program provides year-round support to nurture nonfiction filmmakers worldwide through three Creative Labs, filmmaker support at the Sundance Film Festival and the Sundance Creative Producing Summit, innovative partnerships including Good Pitch, Skoll Stories of Change and the Arab Fund for Art and Culture, and through collaborative international initiatives. Visit or for more information.

Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is a not-for-profit organization that fosters the development of original storytelling in film and theatre, and presents the annual Sundance Film Festival. Internationally recognized for its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, film composers, playwrights and theatre artists, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Angels in America, Spring Awakening, Boys Don’t Cry, Sin Nombre and Born into Brothels.

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