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A FLAME Film Student's Memoir  

At the start of this summer, I applied for Disney’s Dream Big Princess Project with GirlUp. GirlUp is an international organization under the United Nations Foundation which exists to empower adolescent and young adult women around the world. Every year, they hold the GirlUp Leadership summit in the USA, where GirlUp club members and other young women come together. Disney is one of their biggest partners. Last year, they had a group of female photographers create a photo series of inspiring girls and women around the globe. In 2018, they expanded the project from photo to video. To this end, they selected girls interested in filmmaking from different countries. I was grateful to be selected as a part of this group, which consisted of 21 young girls and women from countries like New Zealand, Canada, USA, UK, France, Mexico and others.

As part of the #DreamBigPrincess project, we were flown down to the GirlUp leadership summit in Washington D.C. The summit was an incredible experience! Accomplished women from different fields spoke on various topics, ranging from self-confidence building to women’s safety and empowerment in the third world. There were also workshops held on the future of Virtual Reality in storytelling, freedom from female genital mutilation in Liberia, and the importance of organizations like Planned Parenthood. What I also thoroughly enjoyed was meeting with all these incredible women and girls from different backgrounds. The conversation was extremely stimulating; difficult questions were asked, answers were attempted, and overall, the three-day discourse gave me much to think about.

On the last day, we took part in a storytelling workshop, which prepared us to complete our personal projects. Each girl would get to interview an accomplished woman from her country, from any field, and produce a video about it for Disney. We got full control of the project from beginning to end, from scripting to editing, while a team was sent to assist us.

For my project, I interviewed the photographer Ashima Narain. Over a career spanning nearly twenty years, Ashima has engaged with various fields, from nature photography to fashion photoshoots. She has also worked with multiple NGOs and was a part of the Dream Big Princess campaign last year. Her body of work is amazing and she truly had some wise advice to share with me, and with young aspiring photographers and storytellers around the world. Interviewing her and hearing her thoughts was a great opportunity.

My interview with Ashima, along with the other videos, is now live on all Disney platforms and can be accessed here: https://partners.disney.com/dream-big-princess-video-series.

For every like or share these videos get, Disney will donate $1 to GirlUp, which will help it continue the good work it’s doing in India, Liberia, Guatemala, and many other countries.

I’m extremely excited to share this project with everyone. As a Film and TV Major here at FLAME, this was a great learning experience for me, with takeaways which will surely be helpful in the future.  Most of all, I’m thankful for the other twenty women who were part of the project with Disney; I made some lasting friends in the group and look forward to working with them again very soon. Let’s keep empowering more girls and women across the world!


By Madhurima Khadilkar
Undergraduate Student - FLAME University