Film by SFC Professors To Debut at Festival in Rwanda
Order My Steps, a short fiction film directed by Augusta Palmer, chair of the department of media and communication at St. Francis College (SFC), and written by Kathryn Grant, an instructor in the department, will premiere next month at the Women Deliver Conference Arts & Film Festival in Kigali, Rwanda. The conference is scheduled to take place July 17 to 20.
Screenwriter Grant acknowledged, “We are thrilled that our film will be part of a forum that brings together advocates for female equality and health from all over the world, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.”
The Women Deliver Conference (WD2023) is one of the world’s largest gatherings of politicians, artists and NGO staffers working to advance gender equality. According to FilmFreeway, “One of the most creative program elements of Women Deliver 2023 is the Arts & Film Festival, designed to share stories and spark conversations related to the lives and well-being of girls and women around the world.” A hybrid conference, WD2023 expects to draw 6,000 in-person participants to Kigali and more than 200,000 online attendees.
In Palmer and Grant’s film, Peg Rives, an inmate at a federal prison, reaches out to Dorian Rives, the daughter she lost custody of 20 years earlier. Together, the two women struggle to find a way forward despite the obstacles that time, trauma and incarceration have placed in their way.
“I really benefited as a director from the notes and ideas we got from students like Jeanette Toledo ’23 from St. Francis College’s Justice Initiative program,” said Palmer. “Jeanette lived through a lot of the experiences Peg has in the film. She really helped me understand the experiences in Kathryn Grant’s amazing script more deeply.” The SFC Justice Initiative helps formerly incarcerated individuals earn college degrees.
The filmmakers hope to use their film to raise awareness of the many pressures families face when a member is imprisoned. They have held readings of the film to raise both awareness and funds at events including the 2022 St. Francis College Criminal Justice Reform and Re-Entry Conference.