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Scripted Feature Based on the lives of the Subjects of Liz Garbus’ ‘Girlhood’ in the Works

Scripted Feature Based on the lives of the Subjects of Liz Garbus' 'Girlhood' in the Works

It’s not the “Girlhood” that you’re probably thinking about… the much-discussed French coming-of-age drama directed by Céline Sciamma that was released in the USA earlier this year (and is currently on Netflix, streaming).

More than a decade before Sciamma’s film, multiple award-winning filmmaker Liz Garbus directed a documentary also titled “Girlhood,” which uses the stories of 2 teenage girls – inmates, victims of horrific violence and tragedy – serving time in a Maryland juvenile detention center, to explore America’s justice system. 

Like last year’s “Girlhood,” Garbus’ film can also be classified as a coming-of-age story  – or rather two stories of troubled yet self-aware young girls from Baltimore: Shanae Watkins, ten years old when she was gang-raped by five boys, responded by drinking and using drugs, and then graduated to murder, with the stabbing death of a friend, at age 11; and Megan Stahl, whose heroin-addicted mother abandoned her to become a prostitute, ran away from ten different foster homes before being arrested for attacking another foster child with a box cutter. Both girls ended up in the Waxter Juvenile Facility, home to Maryland’s most violent juvenile offenders. 

THR reports that director Miriam Kruishoop along with Atlantic Screen Productions have secured life story rights of both Shanae and Megan, with Kruishoop attached to write and direct a scripted narrative feature film based on Garbus’ documentary, which will be titled “Hood Girls.”

“Miriam has proven to have an incredibly strong voice when it comes to tackling tough, timely and complex stories that often take place in urban settings but resonate far and wide,” said Atlantic Screen Productions CEO Simon Fawcett.

Kruishoop added: “I’m excited and honored that Atlantic Screen Productions embraced this extraordinary true tale and understands the urgency of making this film now. Shanae and Megan are both magnetic characters, and their story is as relevant as it is inspiring. Against all odds, they have become responsible citizens who give back to their communities.”

The filmmaker previously directed “Greencard Warriors” which was released last year – a film set against the backdrop of Bush’s War on Terror and Barack Obama’s rise to presidency, as the story of a 14-year-old undocumented Latino teen struggling to find his place and survive, unfolds.

“Hood Girls” will cover a much longer period of the girls’ lives (going beyond what the documentary did) including their lasting friendship afterward.

By the way, Garbus’ 2003 documentary is also streaming on Netflix.

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