Rayka Zehtabchi (‘Period. End of Sentence.’ director): This film is ‘activism at its finest’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

Period. End of Sentence.” was a film Rayka Zehtabchi never imagined she would make. “The story found me,” she reveals. “I think it’s a really special project because of all the things that happened in the background before I even came on board to direct the film.” She undoubtedly made the right decision, since the short documentary led to her first Oscar nomination. Watch our exclusive video interview with Zehtabchi above.

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This Netflix film centers on a group of women in a rural village outside Delhi, India, who don’t have easy access to feminine products. When a sanitary pad machine is installed nearby, they start to manufacture and sell their own homemade goods, helping to break down the stigma against menstruation.

Zehtabchi had just graduated from USC Film School when she was approached by producer Garret K. Schiff about the project. His daughter, executive producer Ruby Schiff, was part of a club at her high school that “wanted to tackle this worldwide issue of women and girls who are dropping out of school because of their periods, and because of a lack of access to sanitary hygiene products.” When they heard about the low-cost machine being distributed around the world they wanted to install one in India and make a film about it “because it’s ultimately going to be the best way to spread awareness about this issue.”

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The director was “deeply moved and shocked to hear that this was … going on for so many women around the globe, and that I had no prior knowledge of it,” she admits. “I really felt like this is activism at its finest,” as well as “a really great opportunity as a filmmaker to expand my horizons and help kick-start this whole movement.”

“Period. End of Sentence.” competes for Best Documentary Short against “Black Sheep,” “End Game,” “Lifeboat,” and “A Night at the Garden.”

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