- Friday, Feb. 27, 2015
The feature documentary, “Shout Gladi Gladi,” co-directed by Adam Friedman and Iain Kennedy, focuses on women’s health in Africa with a particular emphasis on fistula, a common, debilitating condition that turns once healthy women into outcasts. Academy-Award® winning actress Meryl Streep will lend her voice to narrate the film. The documentary is being made in collaboration with The Freedom From Fistula Foundation, an organization run by Scottish businesswoman, philanthropist, and activist, Ann Gloag. Friedman and Kennedy document Gloag’s experiences working with incredible women in Kenya, Malawi, and Sierra Leone to help them find hope and transcend their horrendous circumstances. The film also features rare appearances by Melinda Gates and Nobel Peace laureate Wole Soyinka. Friedman will produce the documentary through his company, Vertical Ascent, and Gloag will executive produce.
“Shout Gladi Gladi” documents the efforts of Gloag and her foundation as they work with some of the world’s most vulnerable women in poverty stricken villages in Africa. The foundation works to eradicate fistula by improving access to good maternity care, as well as training doctors and midwives, and providing free medical care at their facilities. In addition to providing health services the foundation is focused on empowering women economically and socially. The foundation has partnered with Opportunity Bank in Malawi to provide newly cured women a BBOXX, a small generator powered by a solar panel which allows the women to earn a fee for charging cell-phones (up to five at a time). This creates a business opportunity for the women who are often rejected by the men in their village after suffering from fistula, allowing them to become masters of their own destiny. “Shout Gladi Gladi” is a story about hope for a unique group of women and the extraordinary people who are helping them have a brighter future.
“Filming Shout was an extraordinary experience, my wife and I were stopped at Gunpoint in Malawi and were one of the last film crews shooting in Sierra Leone as the Ebola plague descended. But throughout the wonderful people of Africa and the amazing work that Ann’s groups were doing inspired us to keep on keeping on,” noted Adam Friedman
“'This powerful film attests to the igniting power of one woman, Ann Gloag, to set in motion hundreds of helping hands, doctors , nurses, caregivers, family and friends, to resuscitate the health and status of victims of fistula, and to give them back their lives.” noted Meryl Streep
Fistula Facts (http://www.freedomfromfistula.com/what_is_fistula/facts)
► 1 woman every 2 seconds is seriously injured or disabled giving birth
► An estimated 2 million women in Africa live with obstetric fistula
► It is estimated that another 100,000 develop the condition every year
► More than 500,000 women die each year during pregnancy or childbirth, mostly in developing nations
► 80% of these deaths are completely avoidable
► Sierra Leone has just 71 doctors and 112 midwives for a population of six million
► In 2005, 8 million women around the world experienced life-threatening complications during pregnancy and childbirth
► The 5th Millennium Development Goal is to cut maternal deaths by three-quarters by 2015
About Adam Friedman
Vertical Ascent Founder and President Adam Friedman brings over 22 years of entertainment industry experience to the company. An award-winning filmmaker and television producer, Friedman began his career directing a documentary entitled Wolves in Winter, which went on to receive two Emmy nominations. Friedman’s next project, Color Me Blue, about the NYPD and its many heroes, won him his first Emmy. Friedman moved on to shooting music videos, and his video for the Rolling Stones Emotional Rescue was part of the Whitney Museum Biennial celebration, and his video for the rap group Whodini, Big Mouth, is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Adam has also directed feature films, and his debut, “Medium Straight”, was shown in Critics Week at the Cannes Film Festival, with Variety magazine citing
Friedman has also produced and directed a multitude of biographies for A&E that has included figures as diverse as Kevin Costner, Dolly Parton and LL Cool J. Adam’s bio on John Travolta tripled A&E’s viewership and went on to receive Emmy nominations for best non-fiction series and best director. Under his own shingle, he produced hundreds of hours of non-fiction programming for Discovery, The History Channel, HBO and Spike TV.
About Freedom From Fistual Foundation
The Freedom From Fistula Foundation was established in May 2008 by one of the UK’s most successful business leaders, Ann Gloag OBE, co-founder of the international transport group Stagecoach plc – owners of Coach USA, Gray Line New York Sightseeing and megabus.com in North America.
The charity is dedicated to helping women and girls who are injured and left incontinent following prolonged, obstructed childbirth – by providing free surgical repairs for patients already suffering with fistula, as well as maternity care to prevent fistulas from happening at all.
Our three main projects are in Sierra Leone, Malawi and Kenya and more than 90% of our staff are nationals who are supported by international staff and volunteers where necessary.
The charity’s international Ambassadors include the former President of Malawi, Dr Joyce Banda, and the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.