MTV, Paramount, Gates Foundation Team on Female Filmmaker-Led Global Gender Equity Shorts Anthology ‘In Bloom’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Rexa Vella

MTV, Paramount, Gates Foundation Team on Female Filmmaker-Led Global Gender Equity Shorts Anthology ‘In Bloom’ (EXCLUSIVE)

MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Paramount Global and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have partnered on “In Bloom,” a short film anthology focusing on gender equity.

Directed by emerging female filmmakers from Nigeria, Kenya, India, the U.S. and Brazil, the anthology addresses a range of issues including period poverty, child marriage, gender-based violence, HIV self- stigma, family planning and women’s economic empowerment. As a part of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation’s mission of storytelling to change lives and Paramount’s “Content For Change” initiative, the series aims to champion new voices and enable conversations to dismantle systemic injustices in support of the U.N.’s gender equality goal.

The creative lead on “In Bloom” is Tope Oshin, Nigerian TV and film director and board member of U.N. Live. The shorts include English-language comedy-drama “Period,” written and directed by Nicole Teeny (U.S.): Like many of her classmates at her underserved school, Fay cannot afford menstrual products, so she sets out on a crusade to get them for free. Yasmina El-Abd stars.

In Bengali-language drama “Alta,” written and directed by Priyanka Banerjee (India), a defiant teenager refusing to come out of the bathroom forces her helpless father to seek help to reason with the girl, but things take a turn when their true relationship is revealed. Mazel Vyas stars. In Portuguese and English-language social realist drama “Maré,” written and directed by Giuliana Monteiro (Brazil), a mother on the edge of her sanity seeks solace from a tumultuous life situation. Vanessa Giácomo stars.

In Swahili and English-language psychological horror “Kifungo,” written and directed by Voline Ogutu (Kenya), an ambitious romantic struggles with self-acceptance after finding out that she is HIV positive. Brenda Wairimu stars. And Yoruba, Nigerian Pidgin and English-language drama “Aféfé,” written and directed by Dolapo ‘LowlaDee’ Adeleke (Nigeria), follows a beautician whose life takes a frightening turn when her elderly and ailing mother-in-law moves in unexpectedly. Folu Storms stars.

In celebration of Women’s History Month and just ahead of International Women’s Day, the anthology is set to premiere on Paramount+ on March 1 across the U.S., U.K., Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Australia, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Japan and South Korea. On the same day, “In Bloom” will also premiere on Pluto TV globally, and roll out across MTV international linear channels prior to its March 8, International Women’s Day debut on BET in Africa. Following that, the anthology will become available on YouTube in India and Africa. Following the premiere on Paramount+ and Pluto TV, Paramount will distribute rights free to third party platforms via its Global Content Distribution arm.

Wame Jallow, executive director, MTV Staying Alive Foundations said: “’In Bloom’ marks an exciting new phase in the work of MTV Staying Alive Foundation on gender equality. Our experience tells us that working in partnership with the communities we serve, is the best way to achieve impact and change in the world. These important narratives and the way they were made have already enabled thought-provoking reflections on gender within the team involved in their creation. In Bloom connects the dots and brings to light ‘silent pandemics’ that affect not just women and girls, but our global communities and I can’t wait for the films to be shared with audiences everywhere.”

Crystal Barnes, executive VP of corporate social responsibility and environmental, social and governance at Paramount said: “Paramount’s ‘Content for Change’ initiative aims to amplify the stories and voices of underrepresented audiences around the world, and ‘In Bloom’ does just that, by tackling critical, gender-based issues through the creative lens of dynamic female talents. This collection of films is a true testament to our ongoing commitment to improving diversity, equity and inclusion both on and off screen.”

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, “In Bloom” is produced by MTV Staying Alive Foundation and distributed by Paramount Global Content Distribution.

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