Brave Miss World

Brave Miss World

Director:
  • Cecilia Peck
Producer:
  • Cecilia Peck
  • Motty Reif
  • Inbal B. Lessner
Production Company:
  • Rocket Girl Productions
  • Reif Entertainment
  • Artemis Rising Foundation

* Most external filmography links go to The Internet Movie Database.

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Brave Miss World (2013)

Opened: 11/15/2013 Limited

Limited11/15/2013
Town Center 511/15/2013 - 11/21/20137 days
Monica 411/16/2013 - 11/16/20131 day

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home, Twitter, Facebook

Genre: Biographical Documentary

Rated: Unrated

Speak out. Speak loud. Speak together.

Synopsis

Israeli beauty queen Linor Abargil was abducted and raped in Milan, Italy two months before being crowned Miss World in 1998. Ten years later, she's ready to talk about it -- and to encourage others to speak out. Now a globe-trotting victims' advocate, Linor encourages others to stand against sexual violence by putting an end to their silence. She travels to speak with teens in South Africa, where girls are statistically more likely to be raped than educated. She visits U.S. college campuses where women describe a campus culture that fails to take assaults seriously. From rape crisis centers worldwide, to Hollywood's living rooms, Linor is met with emotional support, but the advocacy work causes her own trauma to resurface. When she attends a celebrity rape trial that hits too close to home, she suffers a breakdown and symptoms of PTSD. In searching for something to ease her pain, Linor turns to Orthodox Judaism. "It's like losing a daughter," her secular mother laments. "But better than alcohol, anorexia, bulimia, or so many other crises that can happen to victims." Linor returns to Italy for the first time since her rape, in an attempt to face her fears and to find the prosecutor who collaborated with Israeli authorities to arrest the serial rapist. While there, in an extraordinary twist of fate, she meets up with another woman raped by the same man in eerily identical circumstances. For victims of sexual assault, the journey toward wholeness never ends; still, Linor Abargil, the BRAVE MISS WORLD, continues her unflinching efforts to keep the nightmares at bay.

The film is supported by grants from Women In Film, Foundation for Jewish Culture, Artemis Rising Foundation and The Fledgling Fund.

Director's Statement

That Linor Abargil was able to press charges against and convict her rapist already makes her story extraordinary. I wanted to find out how she did it, and what enabled her to get on with her life. How did she even dare to report her rape? When she called home moments later, Linor's mother told her not to take a shower until she could be examined by doctors and police. She credits that advice, as well as her mother's strong support in fighting back and not feeling ashamed, as the reasons she was able to convict her attacker and survive emotionally. However, her healing process is still ongoing.

Linor could be any of us. Every day in every city in the world, it happens to someone. One in four women world-wide will suffer rape or sexual assault in her lifetime. In the U.S., 60% of rapes go unreported, and 9 out of 10 rapists will never spend a day in jail. It's as though this crime is sanctioned, even in our own country. Most victims of rape are silenced by shame, humiliation, and a lack of support by their families or law enforcement. In stark contrast to this silence, Linor speaks out as loudly as she can. Her courage and willingness to open up about a painful subject are very compelling to me as a filmmaker. Linor is determined to take rape out of the shadows and bring it into the light. I'm inspired by her determination to transform herself from being the victim of a brutal crime, into someone who can make a huge difference in our world.

I see the film as an anatomy of rape. Linor has given us her rape, as a case study: What are the lasting effects on a victim? What does it do to a family? Can justice be served? Can one ever truly recover? Can speaking out help? She has taken the risk of opening up her wounds, in the hopes of changing the way we look at rape.

Once I delved into researching rape, and got to know Linor, I knew that the film had to be made. Where most young victims would retreat in shame, she fought at age eighteen to put a serial rapist behind bars. I believe that a film which can advocate for women to speak out about rape, and show how taking on this cause is helping one survivor to heal in turn, can truly have the power to change the world. This documentary, along with Linor's interactive website, will gather an international community with the strength to rise up and say NO to rape.

The Steubenville case, the outcry in Mumbai, Penn State, the scandals in the Catholic church, and other recent high profile cases which reflect the institutional sanctioning of rape, underscore the need for more attention to this issue in films, news media, and by law enforcement and justice systems worldwide. Girls on college campuses in our own country are not safe. The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights recently opened an investigation at Yale University after receiving complaints about male fraternity members chanting "No means Yes, Yes means Anal." Our awareness of the pandemic of rape is growing, and it is time to shed light on rape crimes. Linor Abargil's decision to speak out coincides with a global urgency for more attention to be given to the lack of law enforcement available to rape victims, and to the issues of healing and caring for rape victims.

I'm drawn to stories of people who stand up for what they believe in, like Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, like Linor Abargil, and like my father, whose life and work I chronicled in "A Conversation With Gregory Peck." My 12 year experience working in verite documentary, combined with my desire to tell the stories of courageous women, have compelled me to make the film.

-- Cecilia Peck, Director

 

Trailer



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