We Are Our Own First Audience

Over the past month, filmmaker Beth Murphy has been leading an impact campaign for her LEF-funded film WHAT TOMORROW BRINGS. Recently, LEF invited Beth to write about how she has paired her filmmaking with impact. This week, Beth shares her thoughts in the LEF blog.

Since 2009 I’ve had a front-row seat to one of the best stories in the world.  What has unfolded in front of my eyes at the first girls’ school in one small Afghan village has made me laugh, cry…get angry… feel so much pride and hope.

The truth is, I never want this film to end.  And although the film must, the story can’t.  And thanks to the Impact Campaign we launched last month, it won’t.

I think of myself as my film’s first audience member. Don’t we all want to catch that lightning-in-a-bottle moment when the audience sees our film and is inspired to act? But if I—audience member #1—am not moved to action, how can I expect others to be? You might be thinking: Making the film is enough!  Maybe in some cases it is.  But not this one.

Build A School Today Dot Com. That’s the Impact Campaign we launched last month during post-production on What Tomorrow Brings.  Typically, I’d want to wait until a film is released – or at the very least fully funded!– before launching. But we don’t have the luxury of time. The first senior class is about to graduate from high school in November, and there’s nowhere for them to go to college. Razia Jan – founder of the K-12 school—wants to build them a college, and I want to help her.  That’s what this campaign is all about.  I’m excited that the Zabuli Technical College will make history as the first women’s college in any Afghan village, but am even more in awe of these girls and their families, who are so committed to the life-changing power that education brings.

I’ve seen how education can drive change. Girls are learning what it means to become a woman in Afghanistan, how they can use their voice. Illiterate fathers who were wary about sending their daughters to school now express pride that their little girls can help them read letters. Afghanistan desperately needs female teachers and healthcare workers to serve women’s needs. But for me, there’s more to it than that; it’s about having a living demonstration of the power of education to change everything.

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