documentary: in production
Completion date: 2018
Directors: Ellie Walton & Yashaswi desai
Executive producer:  Deborah wallace
producer: Tanisha Christie
length – 60 minutes

About the Film

“Why would god make something so good as love, and make it so difficult to have?”

On the one hand, BRAVE GIRLS is a universal coming-of-age story of young women falling in love and imagining a life different than that of their parents. On the other, the film is an exploration into the fundamental questions of how societal change occurs: When do we break from traditions? And when is it the better choice to accommodate the social norms of our community?

In Dholka, Gujarat, one of the oldest towns in India, young Muslim women are meant to cook, clean and contribute to the family income by making textiles after primary school. Their daughters represent their families’ reputations, and if they leave the house, the entire family risks community shaming and alienation.

For Karishma and Apsana, two love-struck and determined young women; a life in stuck within the four walls is not for them. As their arranged marriages fast approach, they join a new program that will give them a chance to complete a secondary education. This is a dream come true and a possibility of a life outside of the house. But as the final exams approach, their families begin preparations for their weddings. Out of options, they are forced to choose between their dreams and their ties to the community.

One makes an unthinkable choice; the other carries out her familial duty but ends up in crisis that loops Yashaswi, one of the film’s directors, into the story. Yashaswi is compelled to come to Apsana’s aid because she knows this struggle all too well.  In the midst of production, she has to leave her mother’s house because she, too, wants to marry someone for love.

Filmed verite style over the course of 3 years, BRAVE GIRLS not only captures Apsana, Karishma and Yashaswi’s courageous break from their families, but also bears witness to the social implications of that choice.