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P.E.R.I.O.D. at Female Filmmakers Festival Berlin 2022

P.E.R.I.O.D. at Female Filmmakers Festival Berlin 2022

We had the pleasure to be screened at the 4th edition of Female Filmmakers Festival in Berlin on October 9th.

The annual five day film event features screenings of international short & feature films of all genres as well as a hand-picked selection of music videos, panels, networking sessions and more. – we read on Female Filmmakers Festival’s website.

It was a true pleasure to see so many wonderful films created by female filmmakers, meet inspiring people and get amazing feedback from the audience about P.E.R.I.O.D.

Photos below by Suza Schlecht ©

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Toronto International Women’s Film Festival awarded P.E.R.I.O.D. in the category “Best Music Video” in their Summer 2022 edition. The festival is sponsored by Toronto Film Magazine and Toronto Film Channel in Canada.
Women are involved in the film industry in all roles, including as film directors, actresses, cinematographers, film producers, film critics, and other film industry professions, though women have been underrepresented in creative positions. – we read on Toronto Film Magazine Website.

Very happy to present P.E.R.I.O.D. in front of international audience. Hoping it will be seen on many screens around the world!

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On Friday June 24 2022 the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, the landmark ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion.

I’m reading a wonderful book by Silvia Federici Witches, Witch-Hunting, and Women. She writes: “the restriction of women’s sexuality to marriage and procreation, together with wifely unconditional obedience, was instituted in every country – regardless of its religious creed – as the pillar of social morality and political stability. And, indeed, of no crime were ‘witches’ as frequently accused as ‘lewd behavior’, generally associated with infanticide and inherent hostility to the reproduction of life.”

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She came up with the idea to contrast the non-glamorous sanitary napkins with the aesthetics of jewelry or sexy lingerie advertisements. Monika Kozub recorded “Period” with the slogan “period is not a luxury” in mind.

“First PMS, then the pain and stress. Where’s my money, where’s respect for the flow that you reject? It’s time to progress” raps a woman sitting on a toilet, her panites down at her ankles with a bloody panty liner. It’s the main character of the music video “Period” created by the artist Monika Kozub and her partner Daniel S. Roden,  to “celebrate menstruation and fight menstrual poverty”.

The first inspiration for the video came to Monika, a Polish woman, who had been living in Berlin for several years, when she started to use a menstrual cup and she fell in love with it.

– It’s a completely different experience than tampons and pads. Looking at this small container with fresh, red blood, I wanted to take pictures of it instantly – she tells us in an interview.

Second inspiration came when she realized that the photos used to illustrate texts about menstruation are usually showing perfectly white, clean pads that have nothing to do with reality. – A tampon covered in red glitter or a red melting popsickle are nice metaphors, but still only metaphors. I wanted to show the truth about the period in my pictures.

After all, we all know or we can pretty much guess what menstruation really looks like.

 

The artist, influenced by an earlier collaboration with Berlin-based NGO Social Period, which fights menstrual poverty and educates about the economic struggles of menstruating people, decided to record “Period”.

– I came up with the idea to contrast the image of sanitary pads, which are neither sexy nor glamorous, with the aesthetics of vintage jewelry and sexy lingerie ads. Contrary to the slogan that “the period is not luxurious”.

Monika Kozub and Daniel S. Roden decided to record a rap song, as it was the first music genre that came to their mind when thinking about a musical way to protest. In addition, in their opinion, rap with its counter-culturalism and anger is ideally suited to the topic, as a way to shout out freely what bothers you.

 

“If the blood were gold, we’d rule the world” – sing the women in the video. We also see a woman with her fingers covered in blood in the sign of victory, and then pointing to a pad she holds in the other hand asking: “You think this shit’s free?!”

There is also a bathtub full of white foam with distinct red stains, or a jar filled with jam, resembling blood, with which the rapper smears her lips and the skin around them.

– Was I worried about the accusation that the material was “tasteless”? No, because it’s visually appealing, and the text that accompanies it fits well with the video. The viewer gets hit in the face with the images related to menstruation, but it’s important to remember that only because we menstruate humanity still exists. I would like us to stop frowning at the thought of period and stop embarrassing menstruating people or saying what “can” and “should” be shown about them.

In addition according to Monika Kozub, a negative reaction to the clip will say more about the viewer than the video.

– Many times I have heard an argument in conversations about periods that everyone defecates, but it doesn’t mean that you have to show people smearing each other’s poop. Except that defecation is not a process by which babies are born, even though culture considers both – menstruation and defecation – equally dirty. The menstrual blood is clean, it’s exactly the same as the blood from wounds we see in the movies, and yet somehow only menstrual blood is considered disgusting.

The creators worked on “Period” for over a year. Together, they prepared the text, music and photos. Kozub has covered the cost of the costumes for the video as well as the decorations out of her own pocket. Now she would like the film to become a period manifesto for everyone who has a menstrual flow.

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May 28th is Menstrual Hygiene Day, but I would rename it to Menstrual Celebration Day. We should do what we can to start a public discussion on how to end period stigma and period poverty.

🔴 What you can do to help?

🔴 Watch our music video PERIOD and share with anyone you know – we intended it to be an easy way to start a discussion on that topic.

🔴 Share the stats below on your social media (yes, feel free to repost and tag me) – people should know what period poverty means and how it affects people who menstruate.

🔴 Try to talk openly about your period or periods of people around you – there’s no reason to keep the shame and taboo around menstruation, and the change can start from you.

🔴 If you can donate to organizations that help with period poverty.

All stats according to Days for Girls, Thinx , Period.org and BYU.

Globally 3.5 billion people menstruate
Over 500 million, nearly 25% of all menstruators, experience period poverty
Period poverty means you don't have access to menstrual hygiene products
1 in 5 teenagers in the US have struggled to afford period products. Period poverty happens everywhere.
 If a person was to use a tampon every 6h and 4 tampons are used per day of menstruation, that would equal to 20 tampons for every 5-day menstrual cycle, totaling 9,120 tampons in their life. If a box of tampons costs $7 and there are 36 tampons in a box, the cost for a lifetime would equal to $1,733.33.
With pads the lifetime cost of using 3-5 pads  per day of menstruation would sum up to $4,752.
On top of that there is also “pink tax” on menstrual hygiene products - a price discrepancy in which services and products marketed to women cost more than identical products or services marketed to men. 30 out of the 50 US states have that pink tax.
share & let’s  #endperiodpoverty together

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The online portal as well as social media outlet is known for promoting diversity & equality. On Instagram they have a community of almost 200k followers!

Very excited to have reached such an audience! Thank you Laetitia for the feature.

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P.E.R.I.O.D. music video is live!

After over a year of preparations – it’s live! Watch the video and listen to the song on Spotify/Apple Music. Share with friends and family, let’s #endperiodpoverty together ♥️🩸

The whole PERIOD story started from me reading a book by Emma Barnett and how she encouraged the readers in one of the chapters to create their own menstrual hygiene products ad. I felt challenged 💪

I talked about it with my partner, Daniel S. Roden and we decided that we don’t want to make an ad, we want to make a rap song about menstruation and then a music video to it 🙌 The visuals for the video started off as a continuation of the the visuals I created for Social Period ♥️ I felt inspired to turn them into a story told in a film, not just through still images.

I took on many roles in this video: I tried rapping for the first time, acting, directing and producing! But the video wouldn’t have been created without the wonderful help and talent of all people involved!

Cast:

Director: Monika Kozub

Music: D1, Daniel S. Roden, Monika Kozub Cinematographer: Borbala Szelei

Costume Designer: Camila Miranda

Set Designer: Orsi Orban

Producer: Monika Kozub

Production Assistant: Eva Casini, Tatiana Alluci

Starring: Monika Kozub, Anagha, Auristella, Dotti Moscati, Emilia Gisele, Lady Bona, Zozo

Special thanks to: Moons and Junes, Einhorn Berlin, J. Ray, Chris Bucanac 

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Why I started photographing menstrual blood

Why I started photographing menstrual blood

It was a long and cold lockdown winter in Berlin.

Above photo I uploaded to Unsplash and you can use it for free for your project (please credit me if you do!) – you can see it here

I was very very hungry for photo shoots, but it was simply not possible due to COVID restrictions.

I photograph with natural light – big windows and high ceilings are my favorite. And you can get that in Berlin, but my cozy yet dark apartment on the ground floor is not one of them. I presumed I would never be able to take any photos at home, and I made peace with it. But then the lockdown came and I simply couldn’t wait any longer.

At the same time I tried switching from pads to menstrual cup for the first time, and I fell in love with this method of collecting menstrual blood. What I was mostly amazed by was the wonderful red color of blood I collected – so fresh and pure, just like paint.

As I was reading and researching on the topic of menstruation, it made me curious to see what stock photos are available regarding periods. I went on Unsplash – platform where anyone can upload their photos to be used as stock photos for free. I typed in “menstruation” and I saw images of a melting red popsickle, a tampon with red glitter on it. As you can imagine – nothing actually representing menstrual blood was available.

So I decided to create a series of photos with my menstrual blood and upload them to Unsplash. That way anyone, even without money to pay for stock photos, will be able to use images that depict menstruation as it is, without glitter on top.

menstrual blood on bathroom floor

The one you see as a cover photo – my hand with fingers covered in menstrual blood (yes! I don’t use fake blood) in victory sign, became very popular when Scotland announced that menstrual hygiene products will be available for free.

It made me very proud and happy that I could have provided a visual representation of the feeling so many of us had – that menstruation has to stop beeing a taboo and there’s no place for period poverty.

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