The Gift

Direction, Script, Art direction, Illustration and animation for the humanitarian video "The Gift".

Female Genital Mutilation has always horrified me, but it wasn't till I made a further research about this problem, reading Waris Dirie and Leyla Hussein' stories among other testimonies, that I realized it was even more dreadful than I thought.

I decided I wanted to do a video to raise awareness of FGM in a visual and shocking way. I wanted to synthesize all the information I read about it. Lots of FGM survivors' testimonies explaine that the day they were cut there was a party and they thought they were going to receive a gift. I found this so ghastly, that I decided to take it as the connecting element for my story: the girl thinks she will receive a gift, but in fact she will be cut in order to be ready to become the present for her husband.

They also explaine that, in most cases, it is the mother the one who takes the girl to undergo FGM, despite of having suffered the consequences herself. That's why I chose a female voice over that "encourages" the procedure.

Therefore, the responsibility for keeping this abuse to continue lies with men and women. On one side we have men who are the ones supposed to be pleased with having a spouse cut (male hand in the animation) and on the other side to have women who make their daughters undergo this practice.

I wanted to show the different types of procedures, but focusing in the pain it causes. That's why I chose to create second scene this way: the girl, crying in pain in the middle of the lunar cycle, in representation of the acute menstrual aches and complications they suffer after this abuse.

I emphasise the global nature of the issue, instead of being an African problem, not having a black main character and with a voice over from an Arabic accent. In this same direction, I show three different girls in the end.