Daughters of the Forest
A group of girls in a remote forest in Paraguay are transformed at an experimental high school where they learn to protect the threatened forest and build a future for themselves.
Directed by Samantha Grant
Produced by Carl Byker
Animation: Angie Pickman
Co-Producer: Kate McMahon
Associate Producer: Matías Anaya
Writers: Samantha Grant, Carl Byker
Editors: John Kane, Samantha Grant
Cinematography: Samantha Grant
Composer: Christopher Hedge
Executive Producer for ITVS: Sally Jo Fifer
A co-production of Red Hill Productions, Inc. and ITVS International
DAUGHTERS of the FOREST tells the powerful, uplifting story of a small group of girls in one of the most remote forests left on earth who attend a radical high school where they learn to protect the threatened forest and forge a better future for themselves.
"A powerful educational tool for those exploring alternative routes to education, girls' empowerment, and sustainable development." Dr. Flavia Ramos-Mattoussi, Learning Systems Institute, Florida State U
Set in the untamed wilds of the Mbaracayú Reserve in rural Paraguay, this intimate verité documentary offers a rare glimpse of a disappearing world where timid girls grow into brave young women even as they are transformed by their unlikely friendships with one another. Filmed over the course of five years, we follow the girls from their humble homes in indigenous villages through the year after their graduation to see exactly how their revolutionary education has and will continue to impact their future lives.
Grade Level: 7 - 12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2017
Copyright Date: 2016
DVD ISBN: 1-941545-79-3
"Daughters of the Forest is a window into an alternative future...Viewers experience the promise of an educational model that promotes self-reliance and commitment to saving the forest...Viewers witness the transformation of the girls as they grow, and make their own choices. Daughters of the Forest is a powerful educational tool for those exploring alternative routes to education, girls' empowerment, and sustainable development."
Dr. Flavia Ramos-Mattoussi, Senior Research Associate, Learning Systems Institute, Associate Director, Center for International Studies in Educational Research and Development, Florida State University
"In Paraguay, over 90% of the forest is gone and young girls from rural areas are bravely leaving their poor families to attend a school in its midst that teaches them technical skills to preserve it. Journey into the visually stunning forest to see girls wielding machetes to clear paths to cultivate the soil near the school, struggle to adjust to a new environment, and bloom into young women who achieve upward mobility to give back to their communities and families. Daughters of the Forest is a beautifully shot film, and a must see for anyone interested in understanding gender and education."
Dr. Glenda Flores, Associate Professor of Chicano/Latino Studies, University of California-Irvine
"Daughters of the Forest presents a glimpse, by turns lyrical and poignant, into the economic and environmental challenges in rural Paraguay. It shows how a group of young women, over time, take up popular education and use it to assert themselves and their visions of the community's future. The film provides an inspiring example of the possibilities of an education developed to promote positive social change."
Lesley Bartlett, Professor of Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Co-author, Critical Approaches to Comparative Education: Vertical Case Studies from Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas
"We are invited to walk alongside these courageous young women, their families and their teachers as they learn by 'doing, selling, and earning money.' This is a must see for those who want to learn how an innovative high school engages girls in action-reflection pedagogical praxis through which they revalue themselves and each other amidst personal challenges, failures, and successes - the latter reflected in their embodied performances as high school graduates and beyond, as teachers and nurses."
Dr. M. Brinton Lykes, Co-Director, Center for Human Rights and International Justice, Professor, Community-Cultural Psychology, Boston College
"A powerful testimony...The film unveils the structural challenges facing young rural women in today's Paraguay and demonstrates how a multicultural educational initiative, sensitive to the region's socio-economic and ecological realities, is a source of hope and empowerment to young campesino and indigenous women."
Paola Canova, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin
"Highly Recommended...Capture[s] the hope for a better future. Later, when she is at college, Bianca talks of missing the people in front of her who cleared the paths with machetes so they would not get lost. She realizes that she now must be the one with the machete to clear the path for others."
Barb Kundanis, Educational Media Reviews Online
"Want to talk about the ultimate STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) program?...Uplifting and engrossing, this is an inspiring choice for girls needing motivation to make their own futures."
Ellen Druda, Library Journal
"The broad human interest focus means the film is likely to remain relevant for years to come...Opportunities for discussing personal goals, persistence, disrupting a cycle of poverty, gender roles, and differing cultural values abound."
Maggie Knapp, School Library Journal
|DVDs include public performance rights.
Full English & Spanish versions, both on same DVD.
English version is completely subtitled.
Awards and Festivals
Doing Good Award, Lifetree Film Festival
Audience Award, Bali International Film Festival
Best Environmental Film, Mountain Film Festival
Sarasota Film Festival
Kuala Lumpur International Film Fest
Bend Film Festival
International Wildlife Film Festival, Missoula
San Francisco DocFest
Frozen River Film Festival
Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Sebastopol Doc Fest
POWFest Extended Festival
Through Women's Eyes
Environmental Youth Forum
Oneota Film Festival
Forests and Rainforests
Latin American Studies
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