Hakawati - EWIF - Image 4 (c) Tom Swindell


Media Representations of Human Trafficking: Even When I Fall screening

Hosted by The Department of Media and Communications, the Department of Gender Studies in association with On

Thai Theatre, New Academic Building


Sky Neal

Sky Neal

Co-Director, Even When I Fall

Kate McLarnon

Kate McLarnon

Co-Director, Even When I Fall

Winnie M Li

Winnie M Li

Dept of Media and Communications


Dr Sumi Madhok

Dr Sumi Madhok

Dept of Gender Studies

Gender, Media, and the Survivor Series

'Even When I Fall' Screening and Filmmaker Q&A Discussion

A screening of this critically acclaimed documentary, followed by an exclusive discussion between the filmmakers and LSE academics, and a reception. This event will explore the ethics of storytelling through documentary filmmaking, as seen in this moving portrait of human trafficking survivors. 

‘We felt the more rarely told story is about the aftermath of trafficking in a survivor’s life, and the barriers to surviving it with dignity.’ — Sky Neal and Kate McLarnon

Sheetal and Saraswoti met as teenagers in a Kathmandu refuge, survivors of child trafficking to corrupt Indian circuses and brought back across the border to a Nepal they could barely remember.

EVEN WHEN I FALL traces their journey over 6 years as they confront the families that sold them, seek acceptance within their own country and begin to build a future. They struggle against the odds and without education, but inadvertently these girls were left with a secret weapon by their captors - their breath-taking skills as circus artists. With 11 other young trafficking survivors, Sheetal and Saraswoti form Circus Kathmandu – Nepal’s first and only circus.

An intimate, beautiful film that harnesses the visual power of circus to give a unique perspective into the complex world of human trafficking. Join us for a special screening of this critically acclaimed documentary, followed by a Q&A discussion with filmmakers and ethnographers Sky Neal and Kate McLarnon, and Winnie M Li (PhD researcher, rape survivor, and activist Winnie M Li). Dr. Sumi Madhok from the Department of Gender Studies will chair. 

This series of events is dedicated to exploring how the media represents different forms of gender-based violence, and the kind of ‘voice’ given to survivors. They are also designed to provide a fruitful dialogue between those with lived experience, those who represent that experience, and those who study these media representations. Concepts explored will include voice, audience, the public sphere, agency, and recovery from trauma.

The event will be followed by a reception, providing a space for survivors, frontline workers, journalists, advocates, academics, and the public to build useful connections. This event is free and open to the public. Attendance is on a first-come, first-serve basis, so do arrive early to ensure yourself a seat.  #LSEVoice

Watch the trailer

The Gender, Media, and the Survivor Series is a collaboration between LSE, On Road Media, and Clear Lines. This series is made possible by the Dept of Media and Communications’ KEI funding.

‘Remarkable… a privilege to hear these women tell their stories in their own clear-eyed words.’ The Guardian

‘The shocking story behind Nepal’s first circus… A triumph against all odds.’ Screen International

‘Uplifting, immersive and spectacular.’ Birds Eye View

Speaker Biographies

Sky Neal - Co-Director, Even When I Fall

Sky has worked since 2006 as a documentary filmmaker and visual ethnographer and has a Masters in Visual Anthropology. She also has a rich background in the circus and performing arts industry, and worked professionally as an aerialist in contemporary circus. Founder and director of Satya films, Sky strives to tell human stories in rich and creatively bold ways and has produced a diverse range of films from long and short form documentaries to exhibition films and video art for live performance. She is strongly motivated by human rights and has made several films that relate to human trafficking and child labour issues, including having produced and directed films for Al Jazeera English and the BBC. Sky has worked extensively with vulnerable and at risk youth through documentary and social circus creative education programmes.

Kate McLarnon - Co-Director, Even When I Fall

Kate has worked since 2006 as an ethnographer and documentary filmmaker and holds a masters with distinction in Visual Anthropology. Kate’s work has been broadcast in the UK, has been shortlisted for an IMTV Music Video Award and she has had short films shown in galleries and festivals worldwide. She collaborates with anthropologists, journalists, artists, museums and charities, using film in innovative ways to express, investigate and create. As a director of Postcode Films, Kate has worked with leading research and arts organisations in the UK, specialising in social policy innovation. She has taught at University of East Anglia, spoken at Queen’s University Belfast and holds a degree in Philosophy and academic awards from Trinity College Dublin.

Winnie M Li, Dept of Media and Communications

Winnie M Li is an author, activist, and PhD researcher in the Department of Media and Communications, exploring media engagement by rape survivors as a form of activism.

She previously worked as a film producer for Ugly Duckling Films in London, working on narrative features and Oscar-nominated shorts, before programming for the Doha Tribeca Film Festival. More recently, she has turned to addressing the issue of sexual assault through the media, the arts, and academia. Her debut novel, Dark Chapter (2017), is a fictional retelling of her real-life stranger rape in Belfast, from both victim and perpetrator perspectives. It won The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize and was translated into ten languages. Winnie is also Co-Founder of Clear Lines, the UK’s first-ever festival addressing sexual assault and consent through the arts and discussion. She was the subject of the TV3 Ireland documentary Unbreakable: True Lives and holds an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland, in recognition of her writing and advocacy.

Chair: Dr. Sumi Madhok, Dept of Gender Studies

Dr. Sumi Madhok is Associate Professor at the Department of Gender Studies, LSE. She is the author of ‘Rethinking Agency: Developmentalism, Gender and Rights’ (2013); the co-editor of ‘Gender, Agency and Coercion’ ( 2013); and of the ‘Sage Handbook of Feminist Theory' (2014). Currently, she is completing a monograph on decolonising human rights titled: 'On Vernacular Rights Cultures and (human) Rights Politics In ‘Most of the World’. Dr Madhok is a committed interdisciplinary scholar, and her teaching and scholarship lies at the intersection of feminist political theory and philosophy, coloniality / postcoloniality, transnational activism and social movements, rights/human rights, citizenship, developmentalism and ethnography. She has been the recipient of numerous grants, prizes and honours, including from the ESRC, The Mellon Foundation, The British Academy and the Ford Foundation. During 2015-16 she held the Leverhulme Research Fellowship, and in May 2017, she received the LSE Student's Union Teaching Excellence Award for 'Inspirational Teaching’. Dr Madhok also sits on the LSE Advisory Board for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

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