August, 2011

Tapestries of fear, Woodside woman faces terror in Zimbabwe

She survived to tell the tale, return to her family and complete the documentary. The film, “Tapestries of Hope,” tells the story of Betty Makoni, who began the Girl Child Network to help girls who had been sexually abused and to fight the myth that led to much of the abuse …

To read the full story click here …

March, 2011

If I didn’t leave Zimbabwe by the weekend, I would be raped or killed

Filmmaker Michealene Cristini Risley tells MC how she risked her life in Zimbabwe to produce her documentary.

To find out more click on the link to a pdf document. View PDF

September 8, 2010

Facebook, Women Thrive Worldwide Host Nationwide Screenings of Tapestries of Hope

Coalition group members will introduce the film at all theaters and encourage support for the International Violence Against Women Act

LOS ANGELES – On September 28, 2010 Something to Talk About will lead a coalition of international organizations – including Facebook and Women Thrive Worldwide – in screening Michealene Cristini Risley’s documentary Tapestries of Hope simultaneously in more than 100 theaters. Through Screenvision, the leading innovator in cinema advertising, Tapestries of Hope will be distributed across Screenvision’s cinema network.

The nationwide event will raise awareness for the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) and encourage audience members to contact their representatives in Congress and urge them to support the legislation. Tapestries of Hope is a ground-breaking documentary exposing the horrors of the rape and sexual abuse of thousands of young girls in Zimbabwe by men who believe it will cure HIV/AIDS. The film follows renowned child rights activist Betty Makoni, 2009 CNN Hero and founder of the Girl Child Network in Zimbabwe, whose mission is to shelter, educate and empower these female victims.

“It’s a privilege to share Betty Makoni’s story with audiences across the country,” said director Risley. “I hope my film shows that one person can make a difference in improving women’s lives, even in a place where women face challenges that are unimaginable to many. By telling this story, perhaps others will be inspired to make a difference in their own way.”

Each screening will feature an introduction by a coalition organization asking audience members to support I-VAWA by contacting their representatives and urging them to cosponsor the bill. I-VAWA – a bipartisan bill introduced by Senator John Kerry – is the first comprehensive legislation aimed at ending violence against women and girls worldwide.

“This film moved me deeply and inspired me to find a way to bring it to as many people as possible.” said Meyer Shwarzstein, President of Brainstorm Media. “The nationwide screening of Tapestries of Hope is a ground-breaking effort, and we’re proud to be joined by the many partners who have come onboard to make it possible.”

The coalition of organizations includes: Facebook, Family Violence Prevention Fund, Something to Talk About, The WIP, and Women Thrive Worldwide.

“Betty Makoni is an awe-inspiring woman and Screenvision is honored to bring such a powerful documentary to our exhibitor partners across the country,” said Darryl Schaffer, Executive Vice President, Exhibitor Relations for Screenvision. “Screenvision is committed to bringing must-see, quality independent programming to theatres and Tapestries of Hope is an excellent example of this.”

To find a screening at a theater near you, please regularly check for updates.
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About Tapestries of Hope
Tapestries of Hope unearths the Zimbabwean myth that if a man rapes a virgin he will be cured of HIV/AIDS. The consequences of this myth are tragic; sexual abuse is rampant, girls as young as one day old have been raped, and victims are being infected with HIV/AIDS. In 2007 Michealene traveled to Zimbabwe to document this affliction, focusing on the work Betty Makoni has done to help the victims of rape and sexual abuse. As a result of her filming Michealene was jailed, interrogated, and deported from Zimbabwe. This courageous film of tragedy and empowerment has won awards at the Louisville International Film Festival, the Monaco Film Festival, and the Honolulu International Film Festival. More information about the film is available at

Michealene Cristini Risley
In April 2010 Michealene won Silicon Valley’s Women of Influence Award. As a human rights activist she speaks out on issues affecting women and children. She has addressed Congress, The State Department, The United Nations, Amnesty International, Stanford’s Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders and Google, amongst others.

She blogs frequently for the Huffington Post, and won the New Communications Review’s ‘Award of Excellence’ for her live blogs during her filming and incarceration in Zimbabwe. Michealene is currently working on a new book on her experience in Zimbabwe. She also co-wrote the book “This is not the Life I Ordered.” To date, the book has sold over 50,000 copies.

The International Violence Against Women Act (S. 2982/H.R.4594)
The International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) is an important effort by the U.S. government to decrease violence against women and girls globally. Introduced by the bi-partisan teams of Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and by Representatives Bill Delahunt (D-MA) and Ted Poe (R-TX), the bill will help support survivors, hold perpetrators accountable, and prevent violence by increasing U.S. diplomatic attention to decreasing violence against women and incorporate best practices into U.S. foreign aid.

Something to Talk About
SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT sponsors events around documentaries that feature inspiring people. Filmmakers, co-hosts and sponsors work together to bring a program centered upon the issues raised in the films. Attention from the theatrical exhibition generates awareness and conversation, and the availability of the films via television and the Internet allows conversations to be conducted in living rooms across the country. Something to Talk About is owned and produced by Brainstorm Media.

About Screenvision
Headquartered in New York, N.Y., Screenvision is a national leader in cinema advertising, offering on-screen advertising, in-lobby promotions and integrated marketing programs to national, regional and local advertisers and providing comprehensive cinema advertising representation services for its theatrical exhibitor partners. The Screenvision cinema advertising network is comprised of over 15,000 screens in 2,400 theatre locations across all 50 states and 93 percent of DMAs nationwide; delivering through more than 165+ theatrical circuits, including 10 of the top 15 exhibitor companies. Screenvision is a joint venture between ITV plc (LSE: ITV), the UK’s largest commercial television network, and Technicolor (Euronext Paris: 18453; NYSE: TMS), a global supplier of technology, services and systems to the media and entertainment industries. For more information:


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