The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe documentary previewed at the Nova Cinema in Carlton on 27 September. We caught up with the producer of the film, Ros Horin, at the screening to find out how the film is challenging social attitudes on violence against women.
Yarrie, Aminata, Yordanos and Rosemary are four female refugees who escaped sexual abuse, violence and war in Africa, and made their home in Australia. The documentary records the journey that the women took with Ros Horin – a community leader and acclaimed theatre director – to transform their trauma into a poignant theatre production.
Produced and directed by Ros Horin, the film was screened at the Sydney Film Festival and MIFF 2016, where it was voted in the top 5 audience favourites for Australian documentaries at both festivals.
“A play has a finite life,” said Ros Horin, when asked how the film came to life.
“We decided we couldn’t keep doing this play, despite a lot of offers, because it was too emotionally taxing for everybody.”
“[We wanted] a film that could go everywhere, to all sorts of communities within Australia and outside of Australia. We really have a purpose of social change and we want to be able to change attitudes towards women who have been abused.”
Ros hopes that the film will also be used as a teaching tool for schools, the military, and people who work with abused women to aid in breaking the cycle of violence against women.
‘What we’re working on here is how to stop blaming women for what has happened to them, and how to stop women from thinking they have to hide in shame,” Horin said.
“How do we change the attitudes within communities to say ‘Yes, I’m going to support this woman!’,” Ros Horin asked audience members at the pre-screening.
The film was released Australia-wide on the 6th of October and will be available for screenings on demand from early 2017.
Despite little knowledge of the Troupe before attending the screening, we left feeling uplifted by the women who experienced so much emotional turmoil to reach audiences with their life stories.
Check cinema listings for screening locations and times.