Test Screening of Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist Sophia Kruz Documentary, "Little Stones"

Topic Areas: Special Events

October 5, 2016 - 6:30pm - 9:00pm
Michigan Theater, 603 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

CEW is pleased to present a test-screening of the documentary Little Stones by CEW Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist Sophia Kruz on Wednesday, October 5 at 6:30pm at the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor. Doors open at 6:00pm. The test-screening will be followed by an audience Q&A.

Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and former PBS producer Sophia Kruz, along with cinematographer Meena Singh, will host a test-screening of their upcoming 90-minute documentary Little Stones, which explores the role of art in the global empowerment of women and girls. From a graffiti artist in the favelas of Brazil raising awareness about domestic violence, to a choreographer in India using dance to rehabilitate victims of sex trafficking, Little Stones profiles four artists who have found innovative ways to use their art to tackle the most pressing issues facing the women in their communities.

Also featured will be a short clip from Middlebrook, a film/web-series written by U-M graduate Juliana Roth which tells a story about a sexual assault survivor going through a fictional University's sexual misconduct investigation process.

This event is free and non-ticketed, but registration is required. Seating is limited!

Click here to register!

Content Warning: Some of the content and language in these films contain information about sexual assault and/or domestic violence which may be triggering to survivors. Please take care of yourself while watching this material. If you need to leave the room, please feel free to do so. If you would like to speak with someone during the evening of the event, SafeHouse and SAPAC will have certified counselors available in the lobby.

Little Stones

"I always feel the movement is a sort of mosaic. Each of us puts in one little stone." —Alice Paul

Filmed in India, Brazil, Senegal, Kenya, Germany and the United States over a period of 28 months, the film showcases artists who are working with leaders in government, philanthropy, technology, public health and education to create positive change. Viewers will learn about the many challenges facing women globally in the 21st century, but they will also be empowered to use their own strengths to make a difference in their communities.

Featuring interviews with leading women’s rights experts in government, philanthropy, technology, public health and education sectors, the 90-minute Little Stones documentary showcases how art can create positive change for women and girls around the world.

The filmmakers founded the non-profit organization Driftseed in 2015, which seeks to empower women and girls through documentary storytelling. Driftseed has partnered with the University of Michigan School of Education to create educational materials which will accompany Little Stones in high school and university classrooms and community screenings globally.

Brazilian graffiti artist and feminist icon Panmela Castro

Sophia Kruz, Director & ProducerLittle Stones
EMMY® Award winning documentary filmmaker and Ann Arbor native Sophia Kruz’s work has screened at film festivals, museums, libraries, community centers, and health-care facilities nationwide, and broadcast on PBS. In 2015, Kruz co-founded the non-profit documentary film organization Driftseed with Little Stones cinematographer Meena Singh and Washington D.C. based attorney Ankita Singh. The non-profit seeks to empower women and girls in the U.S. and around the world through the art of documentary storytelling. Formerly a producer in the Detroit Public TV National Documentary Unit, Kruz produced the hour-long film Ride the Tiger: A Guide Through the Bipolar Brain, which was broadcast nationwide on PBS earlier this year. A Space for Music, A Seat for Everyone is an EMMY® Award-winning documentary, directed and co-written by Kruz, which explores the 100-year history of the iconic concert hall, Hill Auditorium.
Kruz is the director and producer of the independent feature documentary Little Stones, for which she was named the 2015-2016 U-M CEW Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist. This fellowship provided Kruz the time and creative space needed to edit a rough cut of the documentary, and later screen it for U-M faculty, staff and students at a March 2016 feedback screening. Through the fellowship, Kruz was also connected to faculty and staff at the U-M School of Education and Center for Education Design, Evaluation and Research – a university unit which will develop the Little Stones education materials for high school, university and community audiences.

Meena Singh, Cinematographer & Co-Producer, Little Stones
Born in Chicago to an Indian father and an American mother, Singh's mixed cultural background has helped her bring a unique perspective to her work. Driven by her desire to bring affecting stories with social impact to the screen in a visually compelling way, she is a valuable asset and long-term collaborator with many award-winning directors.

Cinematography has always been Singh’s focus, having studied at Columbia College Chicago (BA Cinematography) as well as the prestigious American Film Institute (MFA Cinematography). She emerged in the Hollywood film industry shadowing seasoned cinematographers Ken Seng and Amelia Vincent, ASC on big budget studio feature films. She has since shot 5 independent narrative features and over 30 shorts, including the narrative feature Hollidaysburg. Singh’s work on the film received critical praise from many publications, including the New York Times and Hollywood Reporter. For the last 5 years, Singh has traveled the US and the rest of the world perfecting the very unique craft of documentary cinematography, feeding that hunger to create social impact through film. She has photographed pieces for The Atlantic, National Geographic, PBS, and most notably, she shot scenes for 2013 Oscar-winning documentary Twenty Feet From Stardom. Singh lives in Los Angeles where she is a member of the International Cinematographer’s Guild.


Middlebrook tells the story of Abbey, a sexual assault survivor, through a fictional University's sexual misconduct investigation process. The witnesses that the Dean of Students interviews help us piece together what happened on the night Abbey was raped but also what happens afterwards as she tries to reclaim her life. The tone of the film offers a complex portrait of the many pieces of addressing sexual assault on college campuses: police have only received so much training, universities need to worry about their media perception and legal standing, the accused needs to have their rights protected as a student and citizen, and survivors are often re-traumatized by the system.

Director of the film, and U-M Lecturer II in Screen Arts and Cultures at the College of LSA, Veerendra Prasad, hopes to turn this experience into an ongoing project each summer where U-M students can examine other campus issues through the lens of a fictional university. A screenwriter and director based in Los Angeles and Michigan, Prasad teaches the craft at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and the UCLA Extension Writer’s Program. As a story consultant, Prasad has lent his expertise to many companies including Working Title, BET, and Lion’s Gate providing development notes on projects as diverse as The Punisher and State of Play.

Juliana Roth grew up in Nyack, NY and went on to study English and environmental studies at the University ofMichigan. As an undergraduate, she was a Cowden Memorial Writing Fellow and recipient of the Quinn Creative Writing Prize for her short story collection. Her fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in Irish Pages, Bear River Review, The Establishment, and DIN Magazine. Middlebrook, being screened at this event, is an independent film/webseries she wrote and helped produce this summer. It will be released in 2017. She is currently pursuing her MFA and teaching undergraduate writing at Rutgers University-Camden.


The CEW Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist (VSA) program, funded by UM alumna Twink Frey and her husband James McKay, supports a social activist whose work affects women and recognizes gender equity issues. Interactions between VSAs and the U-M community nurture a “scholar-activist” mindset in academia as well as in social justice organizations. Activists use their time in Ann Arbor to research, plan and create a product (e.g., report, strategy, video) to advance their work on behalf of women.

This event is supported by the Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe Fund of CEW. CEW Leadership Council Member Emerita Menakka Bailey created the fund in honor of her mother, Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe, a lifelong advocate of cross-cultural dialogue and advancement for women.

The filmmakers would like to thank:

This event is free and non-ticketed, but registration is required. Seating is limited!

Click here to register!