For more than 50 years the mass rape of over 200,000 women by members of the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II had been silenced – not the least by the victims themselves. In the Nineties, women from Asia (namely Korea and the Philippines) tore down the wall of shameful silence by telling the world about their victimization.
As young girls, they were kidnapped, imprisoned in camps and forced to provide sexual services to officers and soldiers. Often they were beaten and some did not survive the camps. In documents of that time, these women were referred to as “ianfu”, which can be translated as comfort women.
In 1995, the Asian Women’s Fund was created by the Japanese government to pay atonement money to former comfort women and historically research the issue of “comfort women”. In 2007 the fund closed its work. However, former victims in the Philippines feel that justice was not done. They are still waiting for an official apology, for an acknowledgement of their victimization and financial aid. To state their case, the so called “Lolas” (meaning “grandmothers”) voice their protest.
“Our misfortune was, that we were beautiful”, as one of the survivors puts it.
The Impact & Who We Are
The establishing of rape camps by the Japanese Imperial Army in Asia during World War II is still an unknown topic for many in the Western world. We were told that even in Japan, this topic is hardly taught in schools anymore. With our documentary, we want to give the victims a voice and let their stories be heard. Our mission is to raise awareness for the miseries they had to endure.
The money we raise here on IndieGoGo will go into the production of the rest of the film. The crew will travel to the Philippines again and shoot the film.
We are two production companies co-producing this film: bce films & more GmbH and Ginger Foot Films.
bce films & more GmbH is a production company run by Bettina Ehrhardt. She is a journalist, television producer and director. All of her films have received numerous international awards. Bettina will act as producer and director on “Forgotten Slaves”.
Ginger Foot Films is a production company run by Björn Jensen. He is a producer, consultant for film production companies, author, distributor and lecturer at several film academies. He has worked on more than 80 documentaries and feature films. Björn will act as producer and co-director on “Forgotten Slaves”.
What We Need & What You Get
We have already travelled to the Philippines once and have conducted primary interviews with some of the former comfort women. This helped us to secure 60% of the funding already. We hope to gather the missing 40% here on IndieGoGo. With the complete funding, we want to return to the Philippines with a professional film team in order to shoot the actual film and finish it.
Other Ways You Can Help
We understand that not everybody has money to spare. But there are other ways you can help the former comfort women in raising their voice: share this page and the story of the comfort women with your friends and family (through word of mouth, Twitter, Facebook or our website) and raise awareness for this largely unknown topic. Help the Lolas to tell us their stories.