A 25-minute documentary set in Uttar Pradesh’s Hapur district won an Oscar at the 91st Academy Awards on Monday. Period. End of a Sentence., directed by the Iranian-American director Rayka Zehtabchi, won the award for Best Documentary (Short Subject). The other nominations in the category were Black Sheep, End Game, Lifeboat and A Night at the Garden.
In her acceptance speech, Zehtabchi said: “I’m not crying because I’m on my period or anything. I can’t believe a film on menstruation won an Oscar.” The documentary was produced by Indian producer Guneet Monga’s Sikhya Entertainment and crowdfunded by students from Los Angeles along with their teacher Melissa Berton.
The documentary highlights the taboo around menstruation in India, due to which access to sanitary and hygienic products are difficult to come by. It talks about the hesitation in talking about menstruation and how several young women faced health issues and were even forced to drop out of school due to this.
When a vending machine for sanitary pads is set up in Hapur district, the women begin manufacturing and marketing their own products under the brand FLY.
As the title suggests, a period must only end a sentence and not one’s education, liberty and independence. Through the documentary, the director attempts to make menstruation a taboo-free subject; the film does the job well as we can see the changes being made at the grass root level.
Incidentally, this win comes a decade after Slumdog Millionaire won an Oscar in 2009.