Billed as a “cross-media event,” “The Trials of Spring” is an unusual collection of works that encompasses a feature film, six shorts, and articles written by various journalists. It will focus on the central roles that women played in the Arab uprisings and their aftermaths.
The project boasts an atypical distribution model, too. The feature documentary will premiere at NYC’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival (July 11-21, 2015), while the sextet of shorts will be available on the New York Times website, with a new installment debuting every day starting June 7.
Reticker was inspired by the change these women made — and how little coverage their efforts got. “It was in almost every place we looked that, behind the stories… women were the instigators,” she said. “These are stories that you don’t know at all, and it’s amazing.”
Working on a previous film in the Middle East, she encountered frequent dismissals of women’s experiences and social-justice ambitions. “I remember having journalists say to me, ‘Oh I saw those women, but they were so pathetic-looking that I didn’t write about them.’ And that there was something far more sexy about a guy with a gun.”
Reticker and producer Beth Levinson decided to partner with the NY Times to get these women’s stories in front of as many eyeballs as possible. “We knew from the beginning that we wanted a web initiative that was super-focused and tight, not like a blog or huge campaign, but something that was focused and had a really strong reach,” said Levison. “We also knew that we couldn’t expect for people to come to our website for a new project. We had to bring the content to where the people already are.”
Watch the first short of “The Trials of Spring,” about the assassination of a female Libyan activist, on the New York Times’ website.