Small Small Thing
Small Small Thing is a feature documentary that follows the story of Olivia Zinnah, a 7 year old Liberian rape victim who despite five years of medical treatments and the intervention of the Liberian government, who died in 2012 from her injuries . In 2014 the film received five Best Documentary Feature Awards at The Montreal International Black Film Festival, The Baghdad International Film Festival, Kansas International Film Festival, First Glance Film Festival and the Bronze Lens Festival In Atlanta. The film will premiere on Al Jazeera’s Witness program in 2014.
‘My administration shall empower Liberian women in all areas of our national life, We will support and increase the writ of laws that restore their dignity and deal drastically with crimes that dehumanize them. We will enforce, without fear or favor, the law against rape recently passed.’ – Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (2005)
Small Small Thing begins at JFK Hospital in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, and urban center of this West African country. Olivia Zinnah is 9 years old, severely malnourished and handicapped. Her condition is life threatening. Believing her injuries to be the result of witchcraft, Olivia’s mother had been hiding her for years. The doctors conclude her condition is the result of a brutal rape that took place when Olivia was 7 years old. When pressured to reveal her rapist, Olivia names her cousin.
This diagnosis has severe consequences. Originally from deep in the Liberian jungle, Olivia and her mother are shunned from their tribe for seeking outside help. They are left stranded in Monrovia at the mercy of President Sirleaf’s government and the international community, facing the most difficult decision of all. What price are they willing to pay for justice?
Her story was featured on CNN. During President Sirleaf’s Women’s Colloquiem, she was visited by powerful women including Jill Biden. The UNFPA directed her care. President Sirleaf instructed her Ministry of Gender to oversee even more surgery. And of course, she had a documentary crew filming her. Many powerful people knew Olivia personally, and yet she still died of a preventable bowel obstruction. We hope sharing Olivia’s story, will expose epidemic of child rape that has overtaken Liberia. Rape is the number 1 crime in Liberia and over 80% of the victims are under 12 years old.
Directed By: Jessica Vale
Produced By: Nika Offenbac & Jessica Vale
Director of Photography: Nika Offenbac
Editors: Jessica Vale & Jason Kessler
Color Grading & Graphics: Nika Offenbac
Trailer: Written, edited and graded by Nika Offenbac