Welcome to the rePRO Film Periodical – featuring a mission-aligned short film of the month and accompanying podcast conversation. The Periodical is generously underwritten so that our monthly curation is FREE and available for anyone to take part in.
Sign up via email or check in on the 15th of each month for the latest volume, film, conversation, and links to organizations we’re loving and things we’re learning about.
rePRO Film is proud to be a community partner of the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF). Audiences at the festival as well as our rePRO Periodical subscribers will have access to this episode, where Asha Dahya has a conversation with the filmmakers (Leah Galant and Maya Cueva) of the 2021 documentary: On The Divide.
We all know how powerful films and documentaries are when it comes to changing hearts and minds through personal stories, giving audiences a glimpse into an issue where they can really put themselves in people’s shoes. That is exactly what ‘On The Divide’ does.
This topic couldn’t be more timely right now, as we are on the precipice of seeing Roe v Wade overturned. So we had the chance to speak with co-directors Maya Cueva and Leah Galant who talked about making the film over 7 years, why they chose to highlight this particular community in the Rio Grande valley, and why Choice really is a matter of survival.
THERE’S ALWAYS TIME FOR END-O
As Endometriosis Awareness Month concludes, it’s clear to us that this debilitating disease needs more than 31 days of attention. A quick Google news search reveals few news outlets are talking about endo, and even fewer within the U.S. We’re grateful to every person who tells their story about painful symptoms, misdiagnosis, and the uncertainty of living with endo. On screen, in print, and out loud, we will continue to amplify these experiences in hopes that future generations have better access to resources and care.
There’s still two weeks to catch our rePRO Periodical Film of the Month, a funny, furious short film about two women’s experiences with endometriosis.
“Seabright and Gracie send out a powerful message to the world – we are in pain and we need to talk about it…Equipped with some sharp one-liners, her humour is infectious but her raw pain is palpable and familiar. By the end of End-O some of that pain rubs off on you, whether you asked for it or not, because that’s exactly what being a woman involves. Deal with it.” – Short of the Week
PERIODICAL PODCAST EPISODE 03 (PART 2):
In this extra episode of the Periodical podcast, Asha Dayah speaks with screenwriter Elaine Gracie about “End-O,” “a passion project born of rage.” This rant-filled, hilarious discussion touches on how women deserve to be pain-free and enjoy sex, Gracie’s affection for online trolls, and why making a reproductive system out of food helped audiences understand endometriosis.
Originally from Glasgow, Elaine Gracie is a comedy screenwriter with a unique and distinctive voice. She is mentored by multi award-winning writer Peter Straughan. Her first feature film POLLYAMOROUS is in development with Bluebird Productions and Film4. Elaine also has an original six part dark comedy drama MOLLS in development with Ranga Bee and Sky Studios and an original comedy TV series co-written with Rob Thorman in development at NBC Universal. Elaine created, wrote and starred in the short film SARAH CHONG IS GOING TO KILL HERSELF which was commissioned by Creative England’s ‘Funny Girls’ scheme as part of the BFI Network in association with Big Talk and Baby Cow. Her second short film END-O which starred Sophia di Martino was selected for the 2019 BFI Film Festival and won the audience award at Berlin Feminist film week as well as Best Screenplay at Exit 6. She now has a six part comedy series based on END-O titled RIVER IN EGYPT in development with VAL.
Tia Mowry Experienced Years of ‘Debilitating Pain’ Before Finally Getting Diagnosed with Endometriosis
Actress Tia Mowry shared her experience with endometriosis and pregnancy on Instagram this month. Like so many others, Mowry was forced to be her own advocate. Beyond the pain, her endo was also affecting her ability to conceive (between 30-50% of women with endo may experience infertility) and caused pain throughout her pregnancy. Read on for her story.
They Said It Was Bipolar II. Now I Know It Was Endometriosis
We’re coming out of Endometriosis Awareness Month with a renewed interest in listening to stories about the embodied experiences of women, trans and non-binary people. At the age of 19, Maria went to the doctor for pain associated with endometriosis and left with a box of antidepressants.
Poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) was my first diagnosis. I’d been told even at 13 that my body would likely “absorb the tissue naturally” as it would for uterine lining during normal menstruation, and my periods would eventually regulate. That was not the case, as for the next 3 years I would be hospitalized twice due to PCOS. In total, it took me 17 years from the onset of symptoms to actually have the surgical procedure and proper diagnosis of endometriosis that changed my life.
COLLECTIVE VOICE: ENDO BLACK EMPOWERS BLACK PEOPLE WITH ENDOMETRIOSIS
Say it louder for the people in the back: Black women face unique health care challenges and poorer health outcomes. This is especially true for individuals with endometriosis, once understood to be a disease of working-class white women. Krystal Grimes founded Endo Black to change all that. “There was really no community that I knew of where people were talking about endometriosis,” she says. “I figured I had to be my own advocate.”
THEY CALL IT A ‘WOMEN’S DISEASE;
SHE WANTS TO REDEFINE IT.
Linda Griffith is a pioneer in the field of biological engineering, and she also suffered from a debilitating case of endometriosis for more than 30 years. The MacArthur “genius grant” winner used her prize money to start the first research lab of its kind. This story also surveys research happening elsewhere, including a study you can participate in by collecting a sample of menstrual blood in the privacy of your home.
Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi’s 2016 memoir covers her rise from immigrant child to model, TV host and food writer. It’s also the story of her painful struggle with endometriosis, which went undiagnosed for many years and negatively impacted her marriage and career. The experience led her to co-found the Endometriosis Foundation. Endo patient advocates have mixed feelings about EF, but there’s little doubt Lakshmi’s efforts have led to greater awareness of the disease. Since the publication of her memoir, many more people have shared their own endo experiences.
The Endometriosis Foundation of America strives to increase disease recognition, provide advocacy, facilitate expert surgical training, and fund landmark endometriosis research. Engaged in a robust campaign to inform both the medical community and the public, the EndoFound places particular emphasis on the critical importance of early diagnosis and effective intervention while simultaneously providing education to the next generation of medical professionals and their patients.
Endo Black, Inc, is a Black-women-led organization advocating for African American women and women of color affected by endometriosis. It has connected thousands of Black women and women of color through discussions on health equity and women’s reproductive health, educational sessions, support groups, resources, and more. Take Action>
Founded by Jenneh Rishe, our guest on episode 03 of the Periodical Podcast, The Endometriosis Coalition’s mission is to “raise awareness, promote reliable education and increase research funding for endometriosis centered by our guiding principles,” which are inform, empower, be resilient, and inspire. Look to the EndoCo for reliable, current info about diagnosis and treatment.
rePRO is a program of mama.film, a 501(c)3 cinematic arts organization, where storytellers, changemakers and nurturers come together to champion humanity through a maternal gaze.
Through film and conversation, rePRO advocates for reproductive health, justice, and bodily autonomy. We lift intersectional issues, using the power of storytelling as a catalyst for knowledge, intention, and action.