Kim Longinotto has spent her entire career behind the camera giving a voice to female victims of oppression and discrimination. She’s covered topics including divorce in Iran, sexual identity, Female Genital Mutilation and a female gang in India combating violence against women. The hallmark of her work is her use of observational film-making. She follows and documents without directly impacting on events. Longinotto continues this tradition with her latest film, Dreamcatcher.
Brenda Myers-Powell spent most of her life on the streets. The former prostitute and drug-addict was shot five times and stabbed thirteen. She decided to put her negative experiences to good use and created the Dreamcatcher Academy. This charitable organisation, which she runs as well, is dedicated to helping Chicago women escape from the sex industry. Brenda’s day job is working with female prisoners, whilst at night she can be found on the streets helping others.
Dreamcatcher is a powerful work of documentary film making. Brenda is an inspiring character who dedicates her life to helping other women whilst still battling her own demons. The mentoring she gives to troubled girls in a local school is particularly affecting. It would be easy for her to have made the mistake of preaching and telling girls what to do. Brenda takes the more difficult path of supporting people to make their own choices and decisions, often to her own personal heartbreak. Longinotto also includes lighter moments, and superb editing makes Dreamcatcher the best documentary I’ve seen this year so far.
Dreamcatcher is out in cinemas on Friday.