School of Architecture Student Makes Film About the Plight of Women

From a young age, Georgia Fernandes ’24 (B.Arch)—a fifth-year student from Kenya studying in the School of Architecture—has always wanted to tell stories.

Fernandes’ desire to create something from scratch, much like architecture, led her to begin writing movie scripts as a hobby during the pandemic.

Georgia Fernandes ’24 (B.Arch)Georgia Fernandes ’24 (B.Arch)Realizing the impact that film had on communities in Kenya and around the world, Fernandes wanted to create films that would do the same and make people think, feel and imagine.

All of my scripts surround strong women and put women in the main spotlight,” says Fernandes. “Where some create feel-good experiences, others are more of a raw insight into what it means to be a woman living in this world.”

After listening to true stories of the resilience and bravery that many young Kenyan girls had, Fernandes knew she had to tell their story, and so ‘Mercy’ was born.

Mercy,’ a Kenyan film highlighting the truth about HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence, written and produced by Fernandes, opened with its first screening in November 2022 on the eve of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, an annual international campaign led by UN Women.

Representing the perseverance that thousands of young girls demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic, when statistics of gender-based violence reached appalling heights in Kenya, the film combines hundreds of different real-life stories affecting girls under the age of 15 that all have one thing in common: rape.

In the film, 15-year-old Mercy faces the unimaginable. What could have been the end of her story is only the start of an incredible and transformative journey of triumph over adversity.

Mercy“‘Mercy’ is not a film that begs for sympathy, but it strives for change,” says Fernandes. “I think stories like this that describe courage that young African girls show should not be kept secret, but instead should be shared with the world. I hope that everyone who watches the short film will see how one wrong decision can affect multiple lives.”

‘Mercy’ officially opened for public viewing in March 2023, coinciding with CNN’s MyFreedomDay campaign, a day-long student-driven event to raise awareness of modern slavery.

“My hope for this film is that it will launch the #thinktwice movement, which would push men to think twice before they even touch a girl,” says Fernandes. “‘Mercy’ is more than a movie, it’s a movement with a purpose.”

Since premiering, the film has been selected for screening at film festivals around the world that focus on women’s rights, including those partnering with the Malala Fund as well as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Fernandes is currently working on creating ‘Triple Caution,’ a film about a female’s courage and determination in the Kenyan motorsport industry, which is due out in 2025.