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Power of 7
Documentary Film and Global Campaign

POWER of 7

The POWER OF 7 is a documentary film that tells the story of 7 daring women from 7 countries who confront resistance and danger to stop female abuse and disempowerment when their voices speak out in a play called SEVEN. Hosted by Meryl Streep, Power of 7 reveals the power of theatre to catalyze social change.

Written by 7 award-winning women playwrights, the play SEVEN dramatizes the struggles of 7 women who have overcome massive obstacles to effect change in their home countries of Russia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Guatemala, and Cambodia.

The Power of 7 documentary film and global campaign will expand the reach and impact of this extraordinary play beyond the limits of the stage to audiences in all corners of the globe.

The film will take viewers on an emotional journey moving from backstage to performance and into real life as we capture:
  • The story of the making of this remarkable play;
  • Interviews and footage of the 7 activists whose stories are the basis of SEVEN;
  • Highlights from memorable productions around the globe;
  • The impact the play has had on individuals who have been motivated by SEVEN to act rather than ignore the abuse of women in their societies. 
  • The extraordinary productions of SEVEN in 23 countries, casting the play with influential men as well as women, including politicians, government leaders, journalists, and 7 NATO generals.
The film will take viewers into the life and work of the 7 activists in their home countries--Mu Sochua fighting trafficking in Cambodia, Marina Pislakova Parker creating national domestic violence hotlines in Russia, Pakistani Mukhtar Mai refusing to commit suicide after she was gang raped, instead bringing her attackers to justice and opening schools in her village where girls and boys are equal. 
"Poignant and compelling…it offers assurance that even the most
disadvantaged individuals can speak out and do something."
— Salt Lake City Tribune

"Riveting, explosive, an inspiring drama…starkly emotive…
reaffirm[s] the belief that one person could indeed make a difference."
— Huffington Post
"It was impossible not to be inspired by the widely varying
examples of courage that the project corralled."
— Washington Post

Meet the Women of Seven

Hafsat AbiolaHAFSAT ABIOLA, Nigeria  

“I am working to show young women that they can have power … and I think that is a very powerful message to give--that there is no price too high to pay to let you know there is sanctity in your voice.”

Mukhtar MaiMUKHTAR MAI, Pakistan 

“By the time we are eight, we know that a man can grab us whenever he pleases …and break into our bodies … destroy our childhoods and our futures. I had never realized that citizens, even if they are women, have legal rights.”

Marina PislakovaMARINA PISKLAKOVA, Russia  

“In Russia, 14,000 women every year are killed by their husbands. One woman every hour. When I started my work and would speak to the police, they would say, "Come on, women don't feel loved if they're not beaten.”

Farida AziziFARIDA AZIZI, Afghanistan 

“I see a woman giving birth by herself because, under Taliban, male doctors are forbidden to treat women and women cannot be doctors. As I walk at night, it is the faces of the women who guide my footsteps through the land mines.”

Annabelle De LeonANABELLA DE LEON, Guatemala  

“More women are killed in Guatemala than in any other country in the world—and it is to maintain women without power. Domestic violence is going to be a crime because we are pushing to create this law.”

Mu SochuaMU SOCHUA, Cambodia

“Whether the women are sex workers or garment factory workers. They are my sisters, my friends, my teachers. When people say, how can you wake up and still do this after twenty-five years? I say, you have to do it until people who do not have a voice, do.”

Inez McCormackINEZ McCORMACK, Northern Ireland  

“So we're together in North Belfast in a small dark room in a community hall… all these women, they've survived the worst, and we're reading the Declaration of Human Rights. One asks, 'What do we have to do to get these rights?'   They're yours, I tell her! She looks at me amazed. "Well, that's the best fuckin' kept secret in the whole world!”


Power of 7 documentary and global campaign will take the play far beyond the limits of the stage to the screen with a broadcast special and onto a global platform through an immersive website, social media, and mobile applications that will empower women in the fight against abuse and inequality.

A POWER OF 7 tool kit will enable communities worldwide to produce SEVEN and create new plays inspired by SEVEN with their own stories, supported by local civic engagement.
The POWER OF 7 will link local advocacy groups with global organizations to engage and activate communities around the human rights violations in their own societies. 

Power of Seven
Photo provided courtesy of Shape public affairs office

SEVEN Award Winning Playwrights

  • Paula Cizmar
  • Catherine Filloux
  • Gail Kriegel
  • Carol K. Mack
  • Ruth Margraff
  • Anna Deavere Smith
  • Susan Yankowitz

  • Power of 7 Team

    Ruth Pollak, Executive Producer, is an award-winning Executive Producer and Producer-Writer for documentary film.  Her seven PBS national broadcast specials include:  “One Woman, One Vote,” documenting American women’s 70-year battle to win suffrage; “Searching for America: the Odyssey of John Dos Passos;” “Harry Hopkins: at FDR's Side;” and two historical adventure dramas.  Non-broadcast films include:  “Called to Serve,” a history of American women in the military; “I Am Cleveland Park,” narrated by Jim Lehrer; “The Secret to Change,” a biography of Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Mildred Jeffrey; “and “The Equal Rights Amendment: Unfinished Business for the Constitution.”
    Bonnie Nelson Schwartz, Producer, is an international producer of theatre, television, and concerts with more than 100 plays, films, television programs, and concerts in Washington, New York, and London to her credit.  On Broadway, she co-produced “Ian McKellen: Acting Shakespeare,” “Pack of Lies,” “Jerome Kern Goes to Hollywood,” and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “State Fair.”  Ms. Schwartz is the founder/producer of Washington, D.C.s Helen Hayes Awards.  She produced ceremonies for NBC at the Barcelona Olympic Games and The Olympic Woman for the Atlanta Olympic Games.  Recent productions include “Studs Terkel: Listening to America” on HBO and the documentary special, “Traveling While Black.”
    Vital Voices Global Partnership identifies, trains and empowers emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs around the globe, enabling them to create a better world for us all. In 2006, Vital Voices connected seven extraordinary women leaders in their leadership network with seven award-winning female playwrights. Inspired by their tales of triumph, the playwrights gave voice to these women's experiences and produced the documentary play SEVEN. Through the powerful meaning of theatre, true stories of leadership and courage came to life, illustrating how women in diverse corners of the world are overcoming tremendous odd to advance peace, justice and freedom.


    Power of Seven: The Documentary Vital Choices Global Partnership Women in Film & Video

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