Period. End of Sentence, a short documentary about Indian women who organized around creating accessible hygiene products and fighting the stigma against menstruation in rural India, just won the award for Best Documentary Short at the 2019 Oscars. It was the first time a film about periods made it to the Oscars stage, and as a crew of all women came onstage to accept the award, that fact was not ignored.
“I’m not crying because I’m on my period, or anything,” said Rayka Zehtabchi, the 25-year-old (!) director of the doc, during her speech. “I can’t believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar!”
Zehtabchi and her production partner Melissa Berton were among some of the many women who won at the Oscars on Sunday — and their 26-minute-long film took special care with shining a light on an issue that affects women all over the world.
Zehtabchi was asked to direct the film by the Pad Project, an organization that works to get feminine-hygiene products to girls so that they can stay in school.
“After seeing the film I hope people understand this period stigma doesn’t just affect those in India, we experience it in the United States and in other cultures as well,” Zehtabchi told Glamour in an interview before the awards. “I also want viewers to realize that empowering women worldwide really starts with beginning with opening up the conversation around menstruation. We can implement feminine hygiene, but first we have to break the taboo.”