University of Pennsylvania sophomore Claire Sliney’s film Period. End of Sentence won an Academy Award for best documentary short subject. Period follows a group of girls and women in a rural village outside New Delhi who fight back against India’s deeply rooted stigma surrounding menstruation. Sliney, a Los Angeles native, has been involved in the project since her freshman year in high school at the Oakwood School.
The 20-year-old Sliney is credited as a producer on the film.
“I can’t believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar,” said codirector Melissa Berton while accepting her first Oscar.
“This film began because high schoolers and Action India wanted to make a human rights difference,” followed up codirector Rayka Zehtabchi, referencing Sliney and the group of friends who wanted to provide sanitary products to women in need.
On a field trip to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, members of Oakwood’s Girls Learn International club were told about the taboo of menstruation in some cultures. It often leads to girls staying home from school during their periods or dropping out altogether.
“None of us had ever heard about the issue,” Sliney told the Inquirer. “As feminists, we talk so often about women’s disempowerment, but it’s not often we can target an individual systemic cause. We thought it was such a cool issue.”
While many Penn alums have earned Oscar nods, Sliney is the first Quaker to be nominated and win while currently enrolled, according to the university’s Cinema & Media Studies Program.
Want to see the film? The 26-minute film is currently streaming on Netflix.