Please use the links below to navigate through this page. To come back up to this menu, click on any of the ˆ back to top links interspersed throughout this page.
Here we have highlighted some notable screenings and events. Please refer to the "JUMP TO A SECTION" column to your right to navigate this page.
For a complete listing of past screenings, please click here »
To request a PDF version of our impact and distribution statement which contains all of the information on this page (and more), please contact us and we'd be happy to email you a copy.
Pray the Devil Back to Hell has been embraced by the United Nations as an educational and advocacy tool, despite the film containing some critique about the UN Military forces’ disarmament process after the peace agreement was signed in Liberia.
List of screenings at the UN:
The rationale behind screenings in conflict regions was that the film might create some sense of possibility in places where conflicts felt overwhelming and/or deadlocked, or that it might spark creative thinking among activists in looking for ways to bring peace to their communities.
The strategy was inspired by a group of women in Bosnia who demanded to see the film after it was described to them in the abstract. Abigail Disney brought the film to them, and the resulting screening sparked a remarkable outflow of thinking and new energy for collaboration, which inspired the producers to understand the film as a global tool, rather than simply “another film about Africa.”
Women in Srebrenica discussing the film, March 2008
The screening for the Bosnian women became the first exhibition of Pray the Devil Back to Hell. It was a private screening held at the town hall in Srebrenica on International Women’s Day, March 2008. The audience was a small group of women, half Serb, half Bosnian, who were survivors of the Srebrenica Massacre of 1995.
The women watched in total silence as the film screened with a translator reading a transcript in Bosnian out loud. After the film, everyone remained quiet for a long time, and then a woman expressed frustration at being forced to relive someone else’s war on a day meant for celebration and happiness. However, an intense conversation soon ensued, some saying they were glad the film was shown to them. As the group started to break up, one woman walked up to Abigail, locked eyes with her, and said “Dobra.” “Dobra, Good.” And embraced her.
A group of Georgian women’s NGO leaders viewed PRAY on April 22, 2008 at the Open Society Georgia Foundation conference hall. During the discussion after the film, the women drafted a peace appeal (text shown below). The draft was circulated by women throughout Georgia and into South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and was signed by women from all ethnic groups – groups that had been previously characterized as hopelessly factionalized. These groups continued to work and warn of the impending conflict months before the rest of the world became aware of the powder keg they were sitting on.
“As you may be aware, Georgia has 2 ethnically coloured internal conflicts (in Abkhazia and Ossetia) which are currently frozen but due to the rising military tensions and upcoming parliamentary elections, it is becoming [a] more and more popular idea that we should ‘fight back’ the lost territories. So, thanks to your film, a group of Georgian women’s NGO leaders are motivated to do something against it.”
– Marina Tabukashvili, General Director, TASO Foundation, Tblisi, Georgia
Peace Appeal of Women of Georgia
We are against violence. We are for dignified life in a peaceful environment. Conflicts should be resolved only through peaceful means!
We appeal to our government to engage in tangible peace talks with our Abkhaz and Ossetian brothers and sisters. Achievement of sustainable peace should be the main goal for all politicians be they Georgian, Abkhaz or Ossetin as renewal of war means betrayal of our children and the country’s future. Life and happiness of each individual is the most valuable thing. We cannot allow experiencing horrors of war - death, rape, torture, and humiliation again.
We are well aware that our Abkhaz and Ossetin sisters have experienced similar cruelties and pain. We hope for their love and forgiveness and that they want peace as much as we do. Therefore, we ask them to call their leaders to engage in peaceful talks.
We are confident that peace-building requires hard, consistent, and complex work from all of us. Peace is our vital interest and not only that of politicians. Let us not allow war - death, suffering, destruction.
We ask everyone, women and men alike, to join our struggle for peace.
Download the Peace Appeal from the TASO Foundation's website »
Abigail E. Disney at the First International Forum of Indigenous Women, April 2008
More than 250 Indigenous women from 20 countries across the Americas gathered at Hotel Plaza de Bosque in Lima, Peru, for the First International Forum of Indigenous Women, titled “Sharing Strategies for New Challenges.” Abigail Disney screened the film during this conference, which was organized by FIMI, Chirapaq, Continental Network of Indigenous Women from the South America Region and Mexico, and the Network of Indigenous Women from Mexico and Central America.
A screening sponsored by West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) took place at the British Council in Accra, Ghana, in May 2008. Thelma Ekiyor, the Executive Director of WACSI and co-founder of The Women Peace and Security Network Africa (WIPSEN-Africa) introduced the film, and Deputy Minister for Women and Children Affairs in Ghana, Daniel Dugan, as well as the head of the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre were amongst the guests.
The panel with Leymah Gbowee and Abigail Disney was moderated by Dr. Esi Sutherland-Addy, (Ph.D, Hon, Hon FCP), the senior research fellow, head of the Language, Literature, and Drama Section, Institute of African Studies and the associate director of the African Humanities Institute Program at the University of Ghana. She held the position of Deputy Minister of Higher Education from 1986 to 1993.
Gini Reticker, Abigail Disney and Leymah Gbowee had the honor of bringing the film to Israel in a rare opportunity to meet with both Israeli and Palestinian women who have been activists for decades. The 3-day trip was sponsored by The Initiative for Inclusive Security, a program of Hunt Alternatives Fund.
Pray the Devil Back to Hell first screened to an extremely enthusiastic audience in Ramallah at the al-Kasaba theater on June 6, 2008. The largely Palestinian audience stayed quite a while for a very lively discussion about whether the Liberian experience related to the Palestinian experience, how to deal with the questions of peace and justice (Can there be peace without justice? Can there be justice without peace?), and a genuine debate between younger and middle aged Palestinians about the answers to these questions.
In the summer of 2008, a screening of the film hosted by The Initiative for Inclusive Security was shown to a group of members of parliament, civil society activists, UN staff and other internationals and their extended family members. Having Arabic subtitles meant that many non-English speaking family members chose to attend.
“When the movie ended, we turned on the lights and said nothing. There was silence in the room for about 30 seconds until one of the Southern women members of parliament started singing a solemn Sudanese song. Others joined her and soon the room was a chorus of women from all parts of Sudan, Christians and Muslims, singing together.
“We had a long discussion afterwards during which women highlighted the parallels between Liberia and Sudan and called on each other to not give up their efforts. They were clearly inspired by the movie and expressed a new resolve to acknowledge their power and work together as women.”
– Jacqueline O’Neill, Policy Advocate and Project Supervisor, The Initiative for Inclusive Security
Ahfad University for Women (AUW) and the Arab Women’s Fund invited Abigail Disney to Omdurman, Sudan, in October 2008 to screen PRAY and participate in discussions about the involvement of Sudanese women in peace efforts in Sudan. The first screening was held in the Elhafeed Library at AUW, and a second screening was held within the university the following day for young college students from all over Sudan, representing every ethnic group in the country. The film inspired the women to write a position statement in the room, and then go door to door in a mission to obtain one million signatures for a petition demanding peace in their war-torn country. Their resolution to work together to bring pressure from within on their government was extremely heartening. We know that they are still working and strategizing below the radar to this day.
"Let us stand up like the women of Liberia, let us look for how to bring about a Sudanese reconciliation model."
– from screening at Ahfad University for Women
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A variety of organizations have sponsored screenings in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
PRAY has screened as part of Eve Ensler's V-Day’s joint campaign with UNICEF, "Stop Raping Our Greatest Resource, Power To The Women And Girls Of The Democratic Republic Of Congo.”
A group of widows in Goma, DRC watch PRAY
A French-subtitled version of PRAY screened to a group of widows in a private home in Goma, sponsored by HEAL Africa in Spring of 2009. Not all of the women spoke or read French, and almost none of them spoke or understood English. But it was observed that every time there was a camp for displaced people, or people fleeing with their belongings on their heads, or shooting, there was a frisson among the women. Several women wiped tears from their eyes.
It was also part of an intensive three-day national summit co-hosted by The Open Society Institute (OSI) International Women's Program (IWP) and the Open Society Institute for Southern Africa, entitled ‘Women of the Congo Speak Out.’
This summit, held in Kinshasa in March 2009, focused on protecting and promoting women’s rights. 65 women across the 11 provinces of Congo gathered to watch Pray the Devil Back to Hell. The screening generated a passionate debate about the role of women in matters related to peace and security and the audience was eager to learn more about the Liberian women’s experience. They subsequently requested copies of the film so that they could organize viewings for their sister organizations at the provincial level in hopes of continuing the dialogue. IWP has since been able to share copies with a national partner in Congo who will disseminate to provincial counterparts.
The film was also brought to the Congo by a Peace is Loud project “Many Voices for Peace” in March 2010. Please go to the Peace is Loud page for more information about this project »
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Mothers in Charge, an organization in Philadelphia started by women who each have a child that was murdered, organized an exceptionally powerful screening event attended by Gini Reticker during the Global Peace Tour.
“It was incredible how much they related to the film,” Reticker recalled, “and the work they are doing to stop the violence was phenomenally moving. There were about 400 people there, men and women. The Q&A was mostly between themselves about strategies to stop guns and violence. There was heavy attendance by both Muslims and Christians, and there was much talk about interfaith work. At the end they asked everyone to stand and make a pledge to stop the violence, and then sign in with contact information so they could follow up. I absolutely love these women. One of them told me that seeing the film and seeing the positive results that organizing can have re-energized them and made them recommit to their work.”
Paul Nigel Harris of Harrowood Books, publisher of the book “Mothers In Charge – Faces of Courage”, said the screening was “wonderful…incredibly inspiring for us all, and I'm sure it gave all of us a lift and filled hearts with inspiration.”
In the fall of 2009, shortly before this screening, Mothers in Charge joined Heeding God's Call and several other anti-violence organizations to demand the closing of Colosimo's Gun Center in Philadelphia. The 40-year old shop was charged with a number of violations and subsequently officially closed for business on September 30th, 2009. The owner of the gun shop will no longer be able to apply for a firearms license. (Hinkelman, Michael. “Colosimo’s gun shop to lose license.” Philadelphia Daily News. 29 Sept 2009.)
Mothers in Charge was established in 2003 and has several chapters in PA, NJ, and NY, and are starting chapters around the country. Their official mission is violence prevention, education and intervention for youth; young adults; families; and community organizations. Please click here to go the Mothers in Charge official website and learn more about this incredible organization.
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We went out of our way to organize or participate in many special events, ranging from high profile screenings to private but high impact, targeted screenings. All of these events were planned with the purpose of boosting the visibility and impact of the film and to maximize the likelihood that the film’s impact on policy would outlive the film itself. Our hope for this increased visibility was to ensure that women start to receive credit more often for their actions and achievements around the globe.
Noteworthy Special Events:
Several sneak previews were organized in major markets before the film began its theatrical engagements.
Whoopi Goldberg, Donna Karan, SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival and WITNESS presented a sneak preview screening at the Paley Media Center. About 200 guests attended to view the film and panel discussion with Janet Johnson Bryant (journalist featured in the film), Gini Reticker and Abigail Disney, moderated by Uzo Iweala, acclaimed author of the novel about a West African child soldier, "Beasts of No Nation."
An exclusive screening event hosted by Gloria Steinem and Philip Gourevitch was put together by Peggy Siegal, one of NY’s most respected publicists, hailed by Variety as a “one-woman marketing department, the queen of New York buzz, especially for small, serious films that need it most.” (Goldsmith, Jerry. “Gotham’s Doyenne of Buzz” Variety. 22 Nov – 2 Dec, 2007.)
The screening at the The Celeste Bartos Theater of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and dinner at the Hotel Plaza Athenee and was attended by “tastemakers” and influencers ranging from celebrities to esteemed journalists. While the film was being discussed, “you could hear the proverbial pin drop in the packed dining room...” (Weinrich, Regina. Gossip Central, 11 November 2008.)
A screening event was held as a fundraiser for African Women's Development Fund (AWDF), hosted by AWDF, The Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media, Columbia College, The Chicago Women's Foundation and The Dance Center of Columbia College
A word of mouth screening and reception was hosted by Amnesty International USA, Dana Delany and Virginia Madsen at the Clarity Theater in Beverly Hills the night before the LA opening of PRAY.
A fundraiser and sneak preview was hosted by Spanx Founder Sara Blakely and PINK, held at a private home in Atlanta attended by approximately 75 guests, including Asatu Bah Kenneth (Muslim police officer featured in PRAY), Gini Reticker, Abigail Disney, and Jane Fonda, as well as several other Atlanta-based celebrities.
The event reportedly raised a total of $30,000 ($15K donated by guests + $15K matching donation by Sara Blakely Foundation) for the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund to build a medical clinic in Liberia. The film opened in Atlanta’s Landmark Midtwon Art Cinema on December 25th.
Held at the University of Pennsylvania, sponsored by Senator Connie Williams in collaboration with Senator LeAnna Washington, Senator Anthony H. Williams, Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell, at the Univeristy of Pennsylvania and the Mayor's Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs.
Abigail Disney was invited by the Dutch Foreign Ministry to screen the film after a discussion on “Women and Peace Making” honoring International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The event took place at the Peace Palace in The Hague, and Mr. Bert Koenders, Minister for Development Cooperation, was in attendance.
Abigail Disney and Leymah Gbowee brought the film to Oslo and Tromso, Norway in January 2009. In Oslo, PRAY screened to an overflowing house at the Parkteatret (Park Theatre), one of oldest cinemas in Europe, dating back to 1907. Guests included ambassadors, government ministers, students, artists and political activists. An illuminating panel was held after the film and the crowd lingered long after to talk to Leymah. This event was presented by Oslo Dokumentarkino, International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) and Fork Films.
The next day, 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the film was shown to students and faculty of the Centre for Peace Studies at the University of Tromso, the northernmost university in the world. Many ideas were discussed to support Gbowee’s further work and to collaborate with Peace Is Loud into the future. The panel included Sidsel Aas from FOKUS (Forum for Women and Development), Fredrik Arthur, Senior advisor at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway and was moderated by Helga Hernes of PRIO (International Peace Research Institute).
|PRAY had the honor of being the first film ever to be shown at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2009.|
A screening of the film was hosted by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2009. The event featured a panel moderated by Paul van Zyl of the ICTJ with panelists Archibishop Desmond Tutu and Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof.
A capacity crowd of international “movers and shakers” gave the film a long and hearty standing ovation. The Dutch crown prince, Prince Jaime de Bourbon de Parme, a diplomat who works in The Foreign Ministry in The Hague, commented that he had never understood the importance of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 until seeing the film.
The attendees exchanged business cards all around, saying that the idea of the power of the grassroots women had radicalized them on the question of how and when to involve the grassroots in political decision-making.
Women from the Mass Action Campaign for Peace after the PRAY screening at the SDK Stadium in Monrovia, Liberia, March 2009. Etweda “Sugars” Cooper is pictured in center in the “I AM A WOMAN” T-shirt.
In March 2009, Pray the Devil Back to Hell screened before a crowd of several hundred women from the Liberian Mass Action Campaign for Peace in the newly restored Samuel K. Doe stadium in the nation’s capital, Monrovia.
The film’s tribute to the resilience, creativity, integrity, and grit of the Liberian’s women’s movement was shown publicly for the first time, received with both laughter and tears. As the film wound to a close, the women embraced and launched into song, dances and whoops of delight. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf attended the screening, which was a part of the four day International Women’s Colloquium. The women of the peace movement were honored by the President at a ceremony on the following day.
Not only was the premiere an enormously gratifying emotional and spiritual recognition for the women, it was an event that helped to elevate their stature as political actors in the community as well as reinforce the standing of their primary political beneficiary, President Sirleaf.
Gini Reticker and Etweda “Sugars” Cooper take a bow at the Movies That Matter Film Festival. Photo by Paco de Onis
Princess Mabel van Oranje of the Netherlands, also the CEO of the Elders of Davos, introduced PRAY as the opening night film at Movies that Matter Festival in the Hague, saying, “I am delighted to join you for the opening night of this important festival of human rights films. I am especially pleased that the festival’s first film is Pray the Devil Back to Hell…”
She went on to say that it was movies like PRAY that could change the world and that in Davos (at the World Economic Forum in January 2009) "at the end of the film, you could hear a pin drop, you could hear a tear drop."
"A great film creates empathy between those in the film and the audience… Archbishop Desmond Tutu led a discussion after the screening in Davos. He said – in that special way that only he can – that the women showed us what ordinary people are able to do: that people are resilient; that they are incredible; that people can laugh even in the toughest times; and that every single one of us can make a difference.
"And he appealed to all of us to support people who, like the women in Liberia, decide to recover their lives – from war, from corrupt politicians, from poverty, from violence or from disease.”
- Princess Mabel van Oranje of the Netherlands
At the One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Prague, Czech Republic in March 2009, Khin Maung Win, Deputy Director of the Democratic Voice of Burma, was on the jury that gave PRAY the Rudolf Vbra Award in the Right to Know Competition.
Through satellite, The Democratic Voice of Burma is able to broadcast from Oslo, Norway into Burma and they now have a viewership of 10 million. At Khin Maung Win's request, the film is now being translated into Burmese and will be broadcast in the near future into Burma in hopes of igniting the women's movement.
The 2009 Vancouver Peace Summit presented by the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education was an unprecedented and historic three-day gathering of the world's biggest names in spirituality, education, the arts, politics, philanthropy, business, and community activism to discuss women's advancement, emotional intelligence, and global compassion.
Nearly 500 people came to watch a free screening of PRAY at the School of Visual Arts Theatre in New York City and sit in on a riveting panel discussion moderated by the renowned broadcast journalist Lynn Sherr with President Obama’s ambassador at-large for women’s issues Melanne Verveer, Women for Women International founder and CEO Zainab Salbi, and E.D. of Afghan Institute of Learning Dr. Sakena Yacoobi.
From left: Zainab Salbi, Sakena Yacoobi, Melanne Verveer, Lynn Sherr, at the SVA Theatre in NYC
Photo credit: Wicked Delicate
They discussed how to apply lessons learned from the film towards current conflicts and whether the commitment of UN Resolution 1325 has been implemented, and argued that more resources need to be directed toward enabling women around the world to engage in peace-building and development. An op-ed video of this event was produced by Wicked Delicate and narrated by Gini Reticker, and was posted on The Huffington Post’s online video section.
On May 18, 2009, Leymah Gbowee and the many women who worked with her in pushing for peace and paving the way for democracy after years of violent conflict in Liberia were named as one of the recipients of the 2009 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award® which is presented annually to public servants who have made courageous decisions of conscience without regard for the personal or professional consequences.
“In 2003, amid unspeakable violence and against staggering odds, the women of Liberia secured peace for their children and their country. Their courage has inspired the world. It has given hope to the hopeless, and strength to countless others weakened by war and civil strife. Their courage has given the women of the world a blueprint for meaningful political change.”
– Caroline Kennedy
Leymah Gbowee also accepted the 2009 Gruber Women’s Rights Prize presented by the Peter & Patricia Gruber Foundation for “…helping to build peace in her homeland by mobilizing women in a resistance movement that was instrumental in finally bringing an end to the Liberian civil war, and for continuing to promote women-power in peace building.” She shared the award and cash prize with fellow recipient, the Women’s Legal Centre in South Africa. The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation honors and encourages educational excellence, social justice and scientific achievements that better the human condition.
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"The most encouraging thing is that these women did not just leave it at the power brokerage. They went and chose one of their own. Men had failed to bring peace. And who suffers when a conflict like that comes? It is women and children. All over the world it's women and children who suffer - and for Liberian women to have decided to bring a woman as the head of state, to me that was an accomplishment. They have lived through it, they know what it is, they know who suffers when there is war."
– from private screening in Kenya
“The whole movie is, I would say, a piece of strength, movement. But above all, a way of feeling the war in a different way... That has impressed me about this movie, the contrast between death and the women’s bravery, how they develop trust in their strength from the unity of being together. But what has impressed me the most is how they drag out a country from destruction and death toward a life of hope that is still being built.”
– forum participant at First International Forum on Indigenous Women, Lima, Peru
"You know if women set their minds to doing something they can do it. There are a lot of challenges we are facing and I wish that we could have that courage to do what the Liberians, Liberian women did."
– from screening to wives of pastors in the Presbytery of Zimbabwe
"I was so impressed with the fact that they started from the church. The church women, they talked without fear. We need to watch and act...That was just a social worker with some few women singing behind her and she went for miles. It was beautiful."
– from private screening in Kenya
“The movie was very moving for the indigenous people, when seeing women prevailing, looking for peace. We are the ones who are really at the front trying to find peace. It has been a very important task. Indigenous women are fighters… This movie makes us relive history and makes us stand firm and sure to defend our rights as women.”
– forum participant from the Amazon at First International Forum on Indigenous Women, Lima, Peru
“The film is amazing – so clear and beautifully put together. It is so powerful by being so real! We were very moved and it will add to our overall peace education and women’s movement in Nepal.”
– from private screening in Nepal
"In Malawi they say […speaking in Malawi] meaning what is facing your neighbor will pass but tomorrow it will be your problem. So I want to say to my fellow sisters here, as ministers' spouses, as ministers' wives, we have the power to influence good things to happen. Let us not pull each other down, let us pray for each other. Let us encourage each other, not discourage."
- from screening to wives of pastors in the Presbytery of Zimbabwe
“What I perceive as interesting, important and contagious is the persistence of the women, despite how hard it is in those conditions, they resorted to coming together and I think that was a very strong strategy to look for peace. That is something that we indigenous women say. We give birth to sons, they go to war to be killed, sometimes among ourselves, and in this case this has been a very important thing. Some were saying that they would like to see the movie dubbed into Spanish. Especially because we see that such persistence had results. It gives us hope, or it gives us back hope.”
– forum participant at First International Forum on Indigenous Women, Lima, Peru
"In Shona they say [speaking in Shona] meaning, ‘A home is a woman,’ and in English, ‘I know behind every successful man there's a lady beside.’ So we need beside, not behind, yeah. So we need to practice that."
– testimonial from screening to wives of pastors in the Presbytery of Zimbabwe
"From that film, let us stand out – let us not look down upon ourselves"
– testimonial from screening to wives of pastors in the Presbytery of Zimbabwe
“It should be screened in all indigenous countries. That would be a great impact because it really is a message that has woken up women who have always done the mediating job to end the war.”
– forum participant from Colombia First International Forum on Indigenous Women, Lima, Peru