3+ years in the making, the upcoming feature documentary, Small Small Thing – directed by Jessica Vale, produced by Nika Offenbac and Jessica Vale, and co-produced by Barnie Jones – is the story of a mother and daughter in Liberia, who find themselves caught between tradition and modernity, when it is discovered that the 9-year-old had been brutally raped 2 years prior.
The film begins with the discovery of a nine year old girl in the hospital, severely malnourished and handicapped. Believing the cause of her injuries to be witchcraft, the village elders (and her mother) hide the girl for 2 years as her condition worsens. A visiting medical team draws the conclusion that she was brutally raped. The film follows the journey over the course of the next 9 months, as the life of this little girl and her mother, shunned from their village for seeking outside help.
Small Small Thing is the result of the investigations by the filmmakers, revealing what they call “an intricate web of corruption, adventure and hope.“
There’s a lot more to this story, so feel free to visit the project’s website HERE.
The film will make its world premiere at the 2013 Palm Beach International Film Festival and Dallas International Film Festival, both early next month.
Unfortunately, the young girl who is at the center of the film, Olivia Zinnah, will not get to see the completed film because she died on December 20, as a result of the long-term complications of the brutal rape she suffered at age 7.
She was 13 at the time of her death.
In a statement, director Vale said:
“I hope the release of ‘Smallsmall Thing’ will pressure the
Liberian government to find Olivia’s accused rapist and bring him to
trial… Olivia was Liberian, but her voice is global. How many times,
in how many countries does this have to happen for people to pay
According to UN statistics in 2012, rape is still the #1 crime in Liberia, despite President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s efforts (and Nobel Peace Prize); the majority of the victims are said to be children – some as young as 2 years old.
Premiere dates and times for the films premiere at the Palm Beach International Film Festival:
Saturday, 4/6, 4:00 pm
And at the Dallas International Film Festival:
Monday, 4/8 7:30 pm
Tuesday, 4/9 4:30 pm
The filmmakers Jessica Vale and Nika Offenbac in attendance.
Watch the film’s trailer below: