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USA, 1997 (MIFF 1998, Documentaries)

Director: Maggie Hadleigh-West

War Zone tackles head-on the everyday issue of the public harassment of women. Shot throughout the USA, filmmaker Maggie Hadleigh-West turns the camera on men in the same way that they turn their sexual aggression on her. She places herself in very real danger by asking men on the streets why they are treating complete strangers in a contemptuous fashion, assuming that people are comfortable with wolf whistles and lewd remarks. In the process, Hadleigh-West has been hit, yelled at, apologised to and engaged in cathartic conversations with the very men who have harassed her.

When War Zone premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival this year it was voted as one of the five most requested films by the public, so popular in fact that an additional screening was added at the last minute. The critics also recognised it by having it nominated for the grand prize in the Forum of New Cinema.

"War Zone has been the focus of my life for the past seven years. But I, like most other women, have lived with street abuse for a lifetime. This film is my way of taking back the streets, letting men know that it is not okay to treat me like a piece of meat, or to treat any other woman that way.

"This is a film that I believe will speak to women in a very personal way. But it is also a film for men - men who understand that just because they know they can get away with street abuse doesn't mean they have the right to do it. It's a film that will awaken men to the experience of women." - Maggie Hadleigh-West

Maggie Hadleigh-West previously made a shorter version of War Zone which was screened at the United Nations 4th World International Women's Conference in Beijing. She has been interviewed on various American news programs including Eye to Eye with Connie Chung and The Today Show; and speaks professionally about street abuse on the academic circuit.

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