Connor PR and Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict
Connor PR working wtih Studio 9 Films for the UK Premiere of Seeds of Hope to be screened at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict
UK PREMIERE of Seeds of Hope
to be screened at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict
- Award-winning filmmaker Fiona Lloyd-Davies takes us to ‘the most dangerous place in the world for women’ – the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo – in her film Seeds of Hope at the Summit Fringe on 10 June 2014.
- Seeds of Hope tells the extraordinary story of Masika and her journey to help women and children who have experienced sexual violence in conflict in eastern Congo.
- The Foreign Secretary Rt Hon William Hague and Angelina Jolie, UNHCR Special Envoy, will co-chair the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict on 10–13 June 2014 at ExCel London.
- The summit calls for an end to sexual violence in conflict – an act that destroys lives and damages communities.
- It will be the largest gathering ever brought together on this subject.
Starting 9.00am on 10 June 2014, there will be three days of global action aimed at creating awareness of sexual violence in conflict. One voice that will be added to the call for an end to sexual violence in conflict is Masika Katsuva’s.
The 84 hours of action is the largest meeting ever held on ending sexual violence in conflict. The Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict (ESVC), co-chaired by Foreign Secretary William Hague and Angelina Jolie , Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, will bring together government delegations, NGOs, experts and sexual and gender-based violence survivors from over 145 countries.
Studio 9 Films will show Seeds of Hope at the Summit Fringe on 10 June 2014. Seeds of Hope tells the extraordinary story of Masika and her journey to help women and children who have experienced sexual violence in conflict in eastern Congo. Masika, herself a multiple rape survivor, has helped thousands of women and children in eastern Congo who have suffered physical and sexual violence.
Every hour, 48 women are raped in Congo (DR). Eastern Congo was described as the ‘rape capital of the world’ by Margot Wolstrom, the United Nations Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict in 2011. A new generation of children, born from rape in the DRC are growing up in a country where violence is a regular occurrence. It’s become a place where there is widespread acceptance of rape and brutality towards women. “Whenever there is fighting, militia use rape as a weapon of war”, Masika says.
Filmmaker Fiona Lloyd-Davies also interviews perpetrators of rape, among them soldiers from the Congolese army. Groundbreaking interviews are captured with the soldiers whose duty it is to protect the women they are brutally violating. These men give extraordinarily open testimony as to why they rape and their attitudes towards their horrific acts. As one soldier candidly reveals, “Raping gives us a lot of pleasure. When we rape we feel free.” This calls into question the crucial issue of justice and as one of the women, Nzgira, poignantly says, “If justice is done maybe this will stop the soldiers. It’s just they aren’t afraid of anything.”
The aim of the summit is to facilitate dialogue between governments, NGOs, experts and survivors that outline solutions to sexual violence in conflict and develop international co-ordination. For Masika, to stop sexual violence means the conflict must be brought to an end. “If the fighting were to end in the hills, it would mean an end to rape which we want to stop forever.”
Filmed over three years and capturing the ebb and flow of the seasons, we see how the process of farming this small patch of land empowers and transforms these women.The field is their hope, their therapy and their source of food and income. The rape victims and hundreds of children born from rape sow lines of seed every quarter (three months). Together they nurture them, pray for good weather and eventually harvest them to eat, sell and plant again to generate more crops.
The field becomes a central feature, almost a character, both in its symbolic value and as a signifier of time passing. The process of renewal and rebirth that nature provides offers up hope anda restored focus to the women. As one of the women, Mongera, remarks, “When we meet as a group, for a moment, it helps us forget what we’ve been through.”The women build new friendships, helping them come to terms with their pasts and look to make plans for the future.
The extraordinary natural beauty of Congo is juxtaposed against the horrific experiences that these women have endured and the threat of sexual violence that remains, lurking in such landscapes.
Since the filming of Seeds of Hope, 39 soldiers have stood trial for the crimes that took place in Minova in November 2012. Only two were convicted of rape as a war crime. Fiona Lloyd-Davies has produced a documentary on both the aftermath of the rapes in 2012 and the trial that will be broadcast on BBC Newsnight on Monday 9 June 2014.
While the seeds show that there is a way forward and a glimmer of hope, its clear that there’s little justice for these women at present. Masika believes that until there is peace in DRC there will be rape: “Whenever there is fighting there is rape.” Despite the recent Minova trial, prosecutions are rare and impunity still prevails. The battle against an endemic rape culture is far from over.
Senator Mobina Jaffer said: “Seeds of Hope conveys unimaginable pain, but also the hope and strength of the women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It further portrays a British filmmaker, Fiona, reaching out to portray the pain of her Congolese sister, Masika.”
This film takes us deep into the lives of women and children who are rarely given a voice and rarely seen on screen. Seeds of Hope shows how one woman’s enterprise helps thousands of Congo’s rape survivors find healing and independence through farming. As one of the women explains, “we are always very happy when we have our seeds, because seeds are our hope”.
Notes to Editors:
To attend the screening of Seeds of Hope and reception please contact Siobhan at Connor PR. There will be a Q&A after the screening, moderated by Anneke Van Woudenberg, Human Rights Watch, Senior Researcher Africa Division.
Fiona Lloyd-Davies is available for interview.
Please contact Siobhan at Connor PR firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 07966 177025
What: Screening of Seeds of Hope at the Summit Fringe followed by a Q&A.
When: 10 June 2014 at 6.30pm.
Where: ExCel Centre, Docklands, London.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/seedsofhopestudio9films?fref=ts
Twitter handle:@Studio9films #seedsofhope
Images are available on request.
To watch the film please click on the following link
A short preview can be viewed on: http://www.studio9films.co.uk/films_new.html
Seeds of Hope documents the extraordinary story of Masika Katsuva, who, with just a small patch of land, commitment and passion, has helped thousands of women and children who have suffered physical and sexual violence come to terms with the nightmares they have lived through.
Every hour, 48 women are raped in Congo. Eastern Congo has been called the ‘rape capital of the world’ by the UN Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict. This is the most dangerous place in the world for women.
The women and children farm the land together, providing them with an income, a sense of stability and a form of therapy. Through donations, Masika and her team have expanded the centre, but the battle against an endemic rape culture is far from over. Since launching the project, Masika has been raped three more times.
The film also reveals the motivations of some of the perpetrators. They are not just foreign militia groups, but are members of the Congolese National Army. These are the soldiers whose duty it is to protect the women they are now brutally violating.
Filmed over three years, Seeds of Hope takes us deep into the lives of women and children rarely seen, offering up a vision of transformation through one woman’s mission to bring healing to women traumatised by rape and in turn, stability to their children born as a result.
Links relating to Seeds of Hope
St Louis International Film Festival November 2014
Africa World Documentary Film Festival
Selected for International Festival “A Film for Peace”
Studio 9 Films
Studio 9 Films Ltd is a company led by award-winning producer/director/self shooter and photojournalist Fiona Lloyd-Davies. They have produced films for BBC, Al Jazeera, Human Rights Watch and REDRESS. Studio 9 Films’ production, “Justice in Action”, chronicling six young woman’s journey to Bosnia 20 years after the war won the Best Documentary International at the People’s Film Festival in 2013. The film “Seeds of Hope”, which tells the extraordinary story of Masika Katsuva, a multiple rape survivor who has helped thousands of women and children in war-torn eastern Congo premiered at the Pulitzer Center Film Festival “Global Crises, Human Stories” and was officially selected for the St Louis International Film Festival 2013.
Biography of Fiona Lloyd-Davies
Award winning filmmaker and photojournalist, Fiona Lloyd-Davies is one of the UK’s most experienced foreign documentary and current affairs journalists. She’s been making films and taking pictures about human rights issues in areas of conflict since 1992, working in Bosnia, Iraq, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and many other locations. Her film about Honour Killing in Pakistan, License to Kill for BBC2, brought a change in the law in Pakistan and was awarded a Royal Television Society award for Best International Journalism. She has also won a Royal Television Society award for Innovation for her work with Salam Pax on the Baghdad Blogger.
Justice in Action, Fiona’s film chronicling the journey of six young women exploring the path to peace and reconciliation in Bosnia won the Best Documentary International at the People’s Film Festival. Her work combines journalism with a strong visual style that she learnt as a graduate of the Royal College of Art. She is also a widely published and exhibited photojournalist in UK broadsheets and magazines such as the Guardian, The Observer magazine and the Herald. She films and edits much of her work herself, using the latest technology.
Fiona’s most recent work centres on sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She has gained unprecedented access to the soldiers implicated in the rapes in Minova on November 20, 2012. Ordered to Rape investigates the mass rapes and subsequent trial and will be shown on BBC Newsnight on June 9, 2014. Her film Seeds of Hope tells the extraordinary story of Masika Katsuva, a multiple rape survivor, who has helped over thousands of women and children will be shown at the Summit Fringe of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict on June 10, 2014.
Fiona’s other Congo work
“Congo and the General” TX February 2014 Al Jazeera English
The first ever aggressive, intervention brigade of 3,000 men has been deployed to one of the world’s most complicated and volatile regions, Eastern Congo. It’s being led by a new force Commander, the Brazilian General, Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz. He has one of the most difficult and dangerous jobs in the world. To prove that the UN can finally fulfill it’s mandate to protect civilians and win against rebel forces and militia men who, until now, have out manoeuvred the largest and most expensive peacekeeping operation in the world.
“Congo’s Tin Idea” TX May 2013 Al Jazeera English
Control of Eastern Congo’s minerals has been a key driver in the savage fighting that’s killed over five million people. A new project may have the answer – to produce conflict free tin from a mine.
Connor PR working with Studio 9 Films, Connor PR working with Film Maker Fiona Lloyd-Davies, Connor PR and the premiere of Seeds of Hope, Connor PR working on the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict with Angelina Jolie and William Hague