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From Girl Rising
From Girl Rising
The Power of Partnerships in Documentary Film: A Case Study of Girl Rising

Getting a documentary film produced, financed and geared up to make an impact is not simple. But the results can be extremely exciting. That's one of the big take-aways from the makers of Girl Rising, which focuses on nine unforgettable girls from different parts of the world who face arranged marriages, child slavery and other heartbreaking injustices.  

In this case study, the movers and shakers behind the film will discuss how the project evolved from a film to full-out impact campaign; how independent filmmakers tap into corporate sponsorships; and how those relationships work.The panel includes speakers from the film's production company, the 10x10 global social impact campaign, corporate sponsors, its television broadcaster and other funders/partners. 

From Academy Award-nominated director Richard E. Robbins, Girl Rising journeys around the globe to witness the strength of the human spirit. Girl Rising demonstrates the power of education to change a girl – and the world. It is the centerpiece of 10x10, a global campaign to educate and empower girls. 10x10 was founded by award-winning journalists at The Documentary Group and Vulcan Productions, along with strategic partner, Intel Corp.


Sumathi (Su) Balasubramanian
is the United Nations Foundation’s Program Officer for Adolescent Girls. Prior to joining the foundation, she worked at Plan International USA, managing the strategy and execution of the Because I am a Girl campaign and its field programs. In addition, Balasubramanian was the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Ohio Green Prison Project, a non-profit organization built to reduce recidivism rates in Ohio and to reduce state spending on prisons. She also worked in Brand Management at Procter & Gamble and served in the US Peace Corps in Samoa teaching mathematics.

Holly Bourne
is a lead marketing strategist for Intel Corp. in support of their Global Girls and Women’s Initiative. In this role, she is responsible for managing the strategic relationship between Intel and the 10x10 campaign and developing an integrated social action strategy. Before joining Intel, Bourne was Founder and President of Granite Marketing, with a variety of technology clients including Intel. She has personally used education to break down barriers. Bourne was the first female copywriter at Grey Advertising, SF and became one of the first female Directors at Fujitsu America. Today, she dedicates her efforts to helping a new generation of young women become firsts.

Holly Gordon
is the Executive Producer of Girl Rising and the Executive Director of 10x10.  Prior to joining 10x10, she was Director of Content for the Tribeca Film Festival, where she managed video production for the 2007 and 2008 festivals. Before her tenure at Tribeca, Holly spent 12 years at ABC News, where she worked as a producer and booker for World News Tonight With Peter Jennings, Good Morning America, 20/20 and Primetime. She was an integral part of ABC’s breaking-news coverage during the weeks following the September 11th attacks.

Bonnie Benjamin-Phariss
oversees Vulcan Productions, partner and co-producer of 10x10.  Prior to joining Vulcan, she oversaw operations for the Walt Disney Co.’s Disney Institute and public affairs programming at WNET. Vulcan Productions produced This Emotional Life, a multiplatform project that included a three-part, six-hour series on PBS; an extensive 2.0 web site; and an outreach campaign. Other productions include Success at the Core, a web-based education media initiative designed to help educators enhance quality instruction in the service of student achievement. 

Tom Yellin is the Co-Founder and President of The Documentary Group. He has overseen all productions since the company’s inception in 2006. Previously, Yellin was President and Executive Producer of PJ Productions and spent many years as an Executive Producer at ABC News, where he created the award-winning Peter Jennings Reporting series. Tom recently released Girl Rising, DocGroup’s largest and most ambitious project.

Produced by Nancy Rosenthal and Simone Pero.

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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events
are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of
Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York
State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and
the New York State Legislature.