Netflix and UN Women Launch ‘Because She Watched’ Collection to Celebrate Women’s Day

Netflix and UN Women March 4 launched “Because She Watched” — a special Netflix collection of series, documentaries and films to celebrate International Women’s Day.

The collection, which will be available all year, is curated by female creators from behind and in front of the camera — including Sophia Loren, Janet Mock, Salma Hayek, Yalitza Aparicio, Millie Bobby Brown, Laurie Nunn, Lana Condor, Petra Costa and Ava DuVernay.

“This collaboration is about taking on the challenge of telling women’s stories and showing women in all their diversity,” said Anita Bhatia, UN Women deputy executive director, in a statement. “It’s about making visible the invisible, and proving that only by fully representing and including women on screen, behind-the-camera and in our narratives overall, society will truly flourish.”

Created for International Women’s Day, with the official theme this year of “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights,” the collection celebrates series, films and documentaries — from “Unbelievable” and “Followers” to “Orange Is the New Black,” Lionheart and “Sex Education” — that “have started important, often hard, conversations that have helped to challenge the way we see the world,” according to a Netflix release.

“Having a world where everyone is truly represented is about true democracy,” said actress Laverne Cox in a statement. “And truly seeing ourselves allows us to envision endless possibilities for ourselves and each other. ‘Orange Is the New Black is the first project where I felt genuinely empowered as a woman thanks to the woman at the helm of the show, Jenji Kohan, and the many women directors, writers, producers, and crew members as well as the stories that centered diverse women in an unprecedented way. This show created a space and platform for me as a black openly trans woman that created space for other openly trans women of all races to be truly seen in the depth of our humanity.”

The collection is available at Netflix.com/BecauseSheWatched. Every title in the collection will be labeled “XXXX’s Women’s Day Pick” so members can easily see who picked which story. In addition, members will be able to choose from a selection of “Because She Watched” profile icons to celebrate their favorite female characters from the collection.

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“TV and film have the power to reflect and shape popular culture, which is why we believe it’s so important that more people see their lives reflected in storytelling.” said Dr. Stacy L. Smith, Founder of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, in a statement. “Our research has shown that inclusion behind the camera leads to greater inclusion on screen. We’re encouraged that last year, 20% of the directors of Netflix original films were women and we are excited to celebrate these female creators on International Women’s Day. There’s still more to do to reach equality, but by recognizing female talent from around the world, we hope more women will feel encouraged to tell their stories, pushing that number even higher.”

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UN Women and Netflix’s partnership in support of the  Generation Equality campaign comes on the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, recognized as a visionary agenda for women’s rights. “We hope that it will spread the message that realizing women’s rights means putting women front and center to achieve gender equality,” the Netflix release read.

Sony Pictures Television, United Nations Foundation Fete Indian Filmmaker

Sony Pictures Television, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, has announced Vinamra Pancharia, from India, as the global winner of the Picture This Festival for the Planet. Pancharia was feted July 31 following an all-day event with eight regional finalists on the Sony Pictures Studio Lot in Los Angeles.

Her winning film Tubelight will stream free in the United States on the ad-supported service Sony Crackle.

The Picture This Festival for the Planet was established “to celebrate everyday storytellers and change makers worldwide, showcasing the positive future they see for our planet through the art of film,” according to a Sony press release. Earlier this year, people from more than 70 countries were invited to submit videos between 1 minute and 8 minutes in length inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of global goals agreed upon by all 193 member states of the United Nations to end poverty, protect the planet and promote prosperity for all. The initiative was supported by SPT’s networks around the world.

Tubelight chronicles a homeless orphan’s dream of attending school. Despite not having the means, the boy sits outside a classroom window during the day and studies under a street light at night.

“Education is the foundation for building prosperity and health,” said Pancharia in a statement. “In Mumbai, at traffic signals, you find these kids selling books. They should be using them in the classroom. True progress is only possible when every child is in the classroom. It all boils down to education. With this film, I just want to create that call to change.”

As part of the Picture This Festival for the Planet, the eight short-film competition finalists were invited to the Sony lot for a day of networking and training. The day culminated with a screening of the regional finalists’ films at the Picture This Festival award ceremony, which was attended by film enthusiasts, Sony Pictures Entertainment executives, students, and representatives from the UN Foundation, United Nations, World Bank Group’s Connect4Climate, and other partners.

The other global finalists and short-films featured include Mark Lee (Malaysia, Mr. Garbage); Yatri Niehaus and Constantin Campean (Germany, Atlantis Real Estate); Daniel Mendoza (Mexico, Flying Home); Wally Tham (Singapore, Sayang Kalimantan); Francisco T. Navarro Ruescas (Spain,Huevos Ecologicos); Bethany Borg (United Kingdom, The Conductor); Carolyn Meub (United States, Why Do You Give?).

Regional finalists received airfare and accommodations for two nights in Los Angeles, along with a Sony RX0 Camera and a one year WeTransfer Plus account. The grand prize winner was honored with a Sony Alpha A9 camera and a SEL 2470Z lens.

“Through Picture This, we want to empower aspiring filmmakers to use their storytelling talents to inform audiences about the important issues we’re facing in today’s world, including the threat of global warming,” said John Rego, VP, sustainability, SPE, in a statement. “Thanks to Sony Pictures Television’s vast networks around the world and the UN Foundation, this initiative helped shine a light on these global goals that will make our planet a better place for all of us.”

The Picture This Festival for the Planet is the latest SPE project to bring awareness to the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2016, the United Nations and SPE launched Angry Birds for a Happy Planet, a global youth outreach campaign that leveraged online and social media platforms to encourage action to protect the planet and fight climate change. In 2017, supported by the cast of the Smurfs: The Lost Village, audiences were encouraged to join “Team Smurfs” for the “Small Smurfs Big Goals” campaign that inspired everyone to learn about and support the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“Through the Sustainable Development Goals, the world has been called to action. Businesses, organizations, individuals, and governments each play a unique and integral role to meeting our shared challenges head-on,” said Elizabeth Cousens, Deputy CEO, United Nations Foundation, in a statement. “The UN Foundation applauds the creativity and vision of these filmmakers to use their art to inspire equally creative answers. Local solutions can and must drive global action across our sustainability goals.”

The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by philanthropic, corporate, government and individual donors.

The global judging panel for The Picture This Festival for the Planet consisted of celebrity advocates and industry leaders.

To see all eight films, go to www.sonypicturethis.com. To view the winning video on Sony Crackle, go to https://www.sonycrackle.com/picture-this.