Tapestries of Hope is
a powerful film that exposes the ongoing rape of young women in
Zimbabwe by men infected with AIDS, and profiles an organization working
to protect and empower abused young girls in the country.
It is a common myth promoted by traditional healers in Zimbabwe that a
man infected with HIV/AIDS can cure himself by having sex with a virgin.
Some victims are very young – even baby girls. Director Michealene
Cristini Risley traveled to Zimbabwe to explore the rape and AIDS crisis
in the country, to uncover its impact on young girls, and to highlight
the work of The Girl Child Network (GCN).
Founded by Zimbabwean human rights activist and child abuse survivor
Betty Makoni, GCN rescues and helps heal abused girls. Part of the
healing process is speaking out about the crimes committed against them,
not an easy task in a country that ostracizes these young female
victims. The documentary interweaves the girls’ heart-breaking stories
with the true confession of a dying man who raped young women believing
it would cure his AIDS.
During filming, Risley and her assistant
were arrested and deported by Zimbabwean authorities. Their footage was
seized by the Zimbabwean Intelligence Office (C.I.O), though the team
managed to later retrieve the footage.
Tapestries of Hope is a portrait of hope and resilience in the
face of overwhelming odds, and a vibrant call to action to stop the rape
and abuse of women in Zimbabwe, and wherever it may occur around the
Reviews and Festivals"Highly recommended. Michealene Cristini Risley's powerful documentary is shocking, chilling, yet heartening by turns, showing the difference that Betty Makoni is making and how her work with the Girl Child Network is trying to counter the horrible sexual violence against women in Zimbabwe, generated by the promotion of a superstitious fallacy."
- Educational Media Reviews Online
“The footage Risley captured – particularly interviews with rape survivors and admitted rapists alike – is an incredibly compelling 77 minutes. The most striking element of the documentary is not the hell that the young rape survivors profiled have lived through, but their unbreakable spirit. The film is a vibrant international call to action and a breathtaking portrait of hope in the face of overwhelming odds. ”
- Jessica Mosby, TheWIP.net
“Documents one of the most astonishing and harrowing developments in contemporary Africa….Offers a very rare view of a politically brutalized nation that has been off-limits to most Western journalists.”
– Video Librarian
Best Documentary, Women in Film & Television
Best Director, Women in Film & Television
Aloha Accolade Award, Honolulu Int’l Film Festival
Award of Merit, Accolade Film Awards
Best Documentary, Louisville Int’l Festival of Film
Award of Excellence, The Indie Fest