AUSTRALIA NETWORK NEWS
TWO girls from Papua New Guinea and Cambodia feature in an award-winning Australian director's critically acclaimed film about the lives of girls around the world.
Rebecca Barry had wanted to make a film about the unique challenges faced by girls around the world, but it wasn't until she had faced the 2009 Pacific tsunami while in Samoa that she started working on the idea.
"It really kind of kicked me into action that I had to really focus on the important stuff and make a film about girls and why is it like this and celebrate their potential through making a film," she says.
Ms Barry's film follows the lives of six girls. Each has a different story to tell and two of the most powerful stories are from Cambodia and Papua New Guinea.
Ms Barry says she was drawn to PNG as it is Australia's closest neighbour. "It's a very close plane ride and you arrive and it's this other world", she says.
The story she tells in PNG is about Manu who is 17 and about to give birth.
Ms Barry says she chose the issue of childbirth as she was shocked by the statistics, "I think [PNG has] the second highest mortality rate for women and girls having children or pregnancy in the Asia Pacific region."
In the film she follows Manu in the lead up to her labour and witnesses the birth of her baby boy. The film shows confronting scenes in the labour ward of Port Moresby General Hospital.
"It was like Dante's 'Inferno'. It was like an orchestra of screaming women and babies," she says.
In the busy maternity ward at Port Moresby General there are only 23 beds and three midwives on a good day.
Manu did not intend to get pregnant and like many girls in PNG she had little sexual health education. She shares her experience of the first time she had sex, saying, "I didn't know how to use condoms."
While her story is challenging it has an element of hope and happiness to it. Others will bring the viewer to tears.