Doc Watchers

Very Young Girls

Dir. David Schisgal & Nina Alvarez, 2008, 82 mins.

Very Young Girls is an exposé of human trafficking that follows thirteen and fourteen year old American girls, as they are seduced, abused, and sold on New York’s streets by pimps, while being treated as adult criminals by police. The film follows the barely-adolescent girls in real time, as they are first lured on to the streets, and the dire events that follow. The film also uses startling footage shot by the brazen pimps themselves giving a rare glimpse into how the cycle of street life begins for many women.

The film identifies hope for these girls in the organization GEMS (Girls Education and Mentoring Services), a recovery center founded and run by Rachel Lloyd, herself a survivor of sexual exploitation. She and her staff are heroic and relentless in their mission to help girls sent by the court or found on the street. Given a chance to piece their lives back together, many will teeter on edge of two different worlds consistently battling the force that will suck them back into the underground.

Very Young Girls’ unprecedented access to girls and pimps will change the way law enforcement, the media and society as a whole look at sexual exploitation, street prostitution and the human trafficking that is happening right in our own backyard.

Curated by Hellura Lyle

Post-Screening Q&A with:

Jennifer Park, Girls Are Not For Sale Campaign Coordinator, Girls Education & Mentoring Services (GEMS)

Thomas Sankara: The Upright Man

Doc Watchers - Curated by Hellura Lyle

Dir. Robin Shuffield, 2006, 52 min

Sankara, a charismatic army captain, came to power in Burkina Faso, in 1983, in a popularly supported coup. He immediately launched the most ambitious program for social and economic change ever attempted on the African continent. To symbolize this rebirth, he even renamed his country from the French colonial Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, “Land of Upright Men.”  This film offers a detailed history of Sankara’s  revolutionary program for African self-reliance as a defiant alternative to the neo-liberal development strategies imposed on Africa by the West, both then and today.

Doc Watchers

Curated by Hellura Lyle


Geralyn Pezanoski,81 Minutes, 2009

When tens of thousands of pets were left behind as Hurricane Katrina bore down on New Orleans, custody battles arise between the pets’ original owners and their adoptive families that bring to light some of the same race and class issues that have permeated five years of discussion of Hurricane Katrina.In the clamor to get out of the city, many pet owners left their animals with food and water, fully intending to return in a few days. People without the means to leave the city on their own were forced onto buses and barred from bringing their pets. Mine follows some of the hundreds of volunteers who mobilized in the hours and days after the storm, entering the city and capturing as many stranded pets as they could find.