HeForShe Student Film Encourages Discussion Around Gender Equality Movement

Lexi Faunce
Five students came together to create a film for the HeForShe campaign in hopes to showcase NYU as a place for gender equality.

The HeForShe campaign found its first home on a college campus when NYU instituted a student-run club in support of the UN Women’s gender equality movement back in 2014. Now, a group of NYU students are creating a film to voice their support for the campaign.

Five students are now creating a film that highlights NYU student involvement with the HeForShe movement. The film provides notable NYU alumni with a platform to promote and discuss this cause, and allows NYU faculty who have equality-based or activist-based working practices to discuss their important work.

Gallatin student Natalina Schappach led the development of the creative relationship between the campaign and the film. Schappach said she applied for the HeForShe Global Youth Engagement Internship at the U.N. this past fall semester.

“After being exposed to the incredible network of youth that are passionate and dedicated to the HeForShe campaign, I was inspired to think of ways to mobilize this amazing group of students and young professionals,” Schappach said. “I came up with the idea to create a student-led film about HeForShe and gender equality that could be used by the official HeForShe campaign at U.N. Women to generate increased discussions among youth.”

This will be the first film that has ever been produced in support of the campaign by students.

Schappach said that at its core, gender equality is the idea that both men and women deserve to exist in a world that does not limit them due to preconceived notions of what it means to be a certain gender.

“My ultimate goal of this film is to spread awareness about HeForShe and gender equality to college campuses around the US and abroad,” Schappach said. “I hope to employ this film as a stimulus to break down gender barriers and reach communities that have been previously under-engaged.”

The project will be a documentary-style short film that showcases unique perspectives from members of the NYU community and how they approach gender equality issues. The film is meant to be a proactive discussion featuring a diverse group of individuals who each play a role in supporting this movement, either through their professional work or activism.

Gallatin M.A. candidate and film director Emily Elizabeth Thomas said gender equality has become a hot-topic issue in today’s political climate, and she feels it is paramount that advocates around the world speak up in support of the campaign because people are fighting for gender equality in every industry.

“What’s so great about HeforShe is that it’s an open conversation,” Thomas said. “It’s not just women talking to women, or men talking to men. This project really showcases the fact that this conversation needs to be inclusive and progressive. Gender inequality is a human problem, not just a female problem.”

Graduate student and the film’s producer Anna Fredrikke Bjerke said she hopes the film will inspire other campuses to support the HeforShe campaign and actively engage in this gender equality discourse. In addition, Fredrikke said the film serves to show NYU as a site for gender equality.

“There is room for this kind of conversation to take place,” Fredrikke said. “And this discussion goes beyond just gender. But in an ideal world, this conversation wouldn’t need to take place. Activism is not just clicking on a link and sharing something on social media. Even making the smallest changes on your campus can encourage people to speak up and speak out.” 
The students will be filming this weekend and have a tentative release date of late May or early June.

Email Lexi Faunce at [email protected]

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