The Latest from Unseen Stories

Posted: August 4, 2010 by girlshootscamera in Audio/Video

Fans of Justice,

Thank you to all of you who supported Unseen Stories by giving a scholarship to a child in Benin!  Unseen Stories would like to say a special thank you to Charlie and Jaye Vanture who gave scholarships in honor of their parents, Marge and Buck Brannen and Nancy and Van Vanture.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Unseen Stories!

Shed No Tears

Shed No Tears is a firsthand account of the stories of trafficked children, their parents, aide workers, and traffickers, exposing the threat of child trafficking in Bénin in an effort to end it. Children as young as three years old are forced into hard labor, exploited, beaten, malnourished – robbed of their childhood. At the age of four, Ruphine was trafficked by her father to work as a domestic servant, subjected to physical abuse and malnourishment. Though unable to attend school, Ruphine never wavered in her desire for an education. Bertin’s mother could not afford to feed her children, so she sought the help of a well-known trafficker. Luc, Bertin’s trafficker, promised opportunity, money, and a quick return home. Instead, Bertin was traded like merchandise from one owner to the next, unable to return home freely. Nearly three decades ago, in the village of Vanté, Chief Whénoukpo desired a better life for his daughter, Zenabou. He allowed a trafficker to take her based on the promise that a business would be started on her behalf. Unknown to Chief Whénoukpo, Zenabou was trafficked to Gabon where she worked as a domestic servant for twelve years. Chief Whénoukpo searched for his daughter for over a decade. Desperate to find and be reunited with her, the Chief swore, “She will come back!”


Artivist Film Festival

Posted: May 6, 2011 by girlshootscamera in Uncategorized

On Sunday I received a call from the Co-Director of the Artivist Film Festival in Hollywood saying they would like to invite Shed No Tears to be screened at their festival!  Not only that, but they want Shed No Tears to be one of only a handful of the 37 films to be a part of the Feature Film Showcase!  The Artivist Film Festival is dedicated to recognizing activist efforts of filmmakers, specifically in the areas of human rights, child advocacy, environmental preservation, and animal rights for the purpose of raising awareness for global causes.  This is a PERFECT fit for Unseen Stories – mixing Art with Activism!  The festival takes place July 8-10.  I’m confident that this will be a great step forward for Unseen Stories in our fight to end child trafficking in Benin.

Child Takes Stand to Rescue Fellow Vidomegon

Posted: May 4, 2011 by girlshootscamera in Uncategorized

Last week I had a meeting with Martin.  Our meetings usually consist of updates on what’s happening with Unseen Stories both here and in Benin.  He tells me about any new children who have received scholarships and I tell him about progress with screenings and so forth.  This particular meeting he had a story to share about a news report he saw in Benin.

An 11 year old girl (I’ll call her “Nadia”) was living as a domestic servant to a woman in her early 30s (a cultural practice known as Vidomegon).  We’re not sure how long Nadia had been living / working there but we do know she was being mistreated.  One day Nadia stole food (she was not being properly fed) and as a result was severely beaten.  Several days later she had to steal food again and this time when her boss caught her, Nadia was beaten all night.  A neighbor girl who knew Nadia heard the beatings that night and informed her boss.  (This neighbor girl was also a Vidomegon, but was being treated fairly).  The neighbor girl’s boss went to the house and found Nadia badly beaten.  Rather than confronting Nadia’s boss herself, the woman left the house and went directly to inform the police.  She insisted that the police follow her to the house to see Nadia.  The police finally agreed and when they went to the house they saw the severity of the situation and apprehended Nadia’s boss.  The amazing thing about the neighbor woman is that she broke cultural boundaries by becoming a witness for police in order to send Nadia’s boss to prison.  She even went on national television to tell the story.  Nadia’s boss claimed it was the first time she had beaten Nadia, however the neighbor woman stood up for Nadia saying that it was not the first time.  Standing up like that is not something that is easily done in this context.  Thankfully, due to both the neighbor girl and woman taking a stand, Nadia’s boss is now in prison.  Nadia is recovering in the hospital – she nearly lost an eye during the beatings.

Intern with Unseen Stories for college credit

Posted: November 18, 2010 by girlshootscamera in Uncategorized

Fans of Justice,
If you are looking to earn some college credit and would like to support the work of Unseen Stories, consider interning with Unseen Stories for the Spring 2011 semester. The following internships are available:
– Grant Writing and Project Proposals
– Marketing and Promotions
– Creative Writing / Editing
If you are interested, please email for more information. (You don’t have to live in Tallahassee to intern).

Screening Coordinator Volunteers Needed

Posted: October 11, 2010 by girlshootscamera in Uncategorized

Fans of Justice,
Unseen Stories is seeking committed / organized volunteers to help set up and coordinate screenings of Shed No Tears in Florida from November 7 – December 15. Tasks include contacting people who may be interested in showing the film, sending them the appropriate information, and supporting them throughout the screening process. This is a volunteer position that requires organizational and communication skills. We ask that you be able to commit to 4-6 hours / week until December 15. Unseen Stories staff will provide volunteers with the training needed to be a Screening Coordinator, so no experience necessary. November is quickly approaching and screenings are already being scheduled around the state, so if you’re interested, let us know as soon as possible. Email for more information.

Posted: April 19, 2010 by girlshootscamera in Uncategorized

Birthdays for Benin photos are on Facebook!

oh so many updates!

Posted: March 31, 2010 by girlshootscamera in Uncategorized

Fans of Justice,

Last week I returned to Tallahassee after spending five months in Seattle working mainly on editing the documentary. Huge thank yous to my sister and friend Briana Murphy and my brother(-in-law) Pat who allowed me to live and eat with them for 5 months (though they originally only agreed to 3 months, surprise!). Your support, encouragement, advice, and hilarity made work and life such a joy! Briana helped in a HUGE way with preparing Unseen Stories to file the 501(c)(3) application (a big deal) plus all her help with organizing literally EVERY task for Unseen Stories that turned into post-it notes on my wall. (they wrapped around to the other wall too)

Several of the cool parts of the film were inspired by Pat’s comments and suggestions, not to mention his advice on lots of other creative-related things. The time spent in Seattle was extremely beneficial to me as I had lots of time to focus solely on editing the film. I am happy to announce that the documentary is nearly done and we are working hard toward establishing a premiere date in Tallahassee! Big thanks to Tommy Vanture who has worked hard to create music that adds so much power to the stories in the film!

What else happened in these last 5 months? Unseen Stories launched Birthdays for Bénin, a way to buy someone a birthday gift while at the same time helping the trafficked children in Bénin. To find out more, click here.

What else, you ask? Unseen Stories began making our partnerships with organizations in Bénin officially official by signing contracts with them. This is a VERY exciting step for Unseen Stories especially with the upcoming release of the documentary! It will be through these organizations that all of you will be able to support the education of formerly trafficked children in Bénin! Woohoo! More details on our partner organizations are coming soon!

Exciting things are happening with Unseen Stories, so make sure you aren’t left out: sign up to receive our blog updates automatically by clicking and signing up here. Become a fan of Unseen Stories on facebook (we will soon be getting rid of the “group” page). Follow Unseen Stories on twitter. Also, stay tuned for ways you can volunteer with Unseen Stories.