India-set Netflix documentary Period. End of Sentence takes home the Oscar
Breaking stereotypes and now breaking records! The India-set Netflix documentary, Period. End of Sentence, just won an Oscar in the Documentary Short Subject category during the 91st Academy Awards, underway at the Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles.
Directed by Iranian-American director Rayka Zehtabchi and co-produced by Melissa Berton and Indian producer Guneet Monga, the film revolves around a conversation around the taboo topic of menstruation. It kicks off in the small village of Hapur, outside of Delhi, following a group of rural women, who with some help from Berton and the original Padman Arunachalam Murugantham, starts a small-scale pad-making initiative.
Apart from the focus on the women’s entrepreneurial endeavour, the film also explores deep-rooted stigmas surrounding menstruation, especially in developing countries like India, where a girl getting her periods could even spell the end of her education.
Zehtabchi, a recent graduate of the University of Southern California's film school, fought back tears as she took to the stage to accept the award for the Best Documentary Short.
“Oh, my God. I'm not crying because I'm on my period or anything. I can't believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar,” she said as she accepted the Oscar for the Netflix original, accompanied by Berton. “To the women, know that you are empowering women all over the world to fight for menstrual equality,” she added.
Zehtabchi’s emotions were echoed by the entire Dolby Theatre as itburst up in acknowledgement of their incredible win. Celebrations have kicked off in equal measures on Indian twitter as well, with Monga leading the bandwagon with an ecstatic message.
“WE WON!!! To every girl on this earth... know that you are a goddess... if heavens are listening... look MA we put @sikhya on the map,” she shared.
As co-producer Berton added, “A period should end a sentence, not a girl's education.”