University of Pennsylvania student brings home an Oscar

Steve Tawa
February 25, 2019 - 3:38 pm
Penn philosophy, politics and economics major Claire Sliney was the executive producer of "Period. End Of Sentence."

Courtesy of Eric Sucar, University of Pennsylvania Communications

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — One of the Oscar winners still has to hit the books after she recovers from the excitement of attending the Academy Awards in Los Angeles. While she's from North Hollywood, she's also a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania. 

The group of female filmmakers behind "Period. End Of Sentence." won best short documentary Sunday night. 

Penn philosophy, politics and economics major Claire Sliney was the executive producer, documenting the taboos attached to menstruation in a rural village in India. Sliney's teacher at the Oakwood School in Los Angeles, Melissa Berton, was also on stage. 

"I share this with teachers and with students around the world. A period should end a sentence, not a girl's education," Berton said. 

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The original thought was a public service type announcement to raise awareness. The home-grown campaign morphed into a short documentary. Then, after getting boosts from their parents, some of whom are in the film industry, it received praise at regional festivals.

In her acceptance speech, director Rayka Zehtabchi celebrated the Oscar win. 

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"I'm not crying because I'm on my period or anything. I can't believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar. Thank you," she said. 

The 26-minute film, now available on Netflix, is about developing a low-cost sanitary product in rural Indian villages, where menstruating girls and young women stay away from school and drop out in large numbers.