“Impassioned and inspiring.”
– LA Times
“The coming together of two remarkable women,
Linor and documentary filmmaker Cecilia Peck.”
– Amy Goodman, Democracy Now.
“Heart-wrenching stories of seemingly typical women and girls.”
-The Daily Beast
“The essential documentary of 2013.”
– Mark Warren, Executive Editor, Esquire Magazine.
March 7, 2016
It was Linor’s idea to make a film. She always felt that being raped and winning the Miss World crown happened so close together for a reason. She wanted to do a film that would give real meaning to her crown, and would encourage survivors of rape everywhere to seek help and seek justice. Ever since she became a very public face of rape at age 18, survivors had approached her to say that knowing that it had happened to her had helped them feel less alone. She knew she could reach many more women in a film than she could in person. In the film, you see the footage of her with tears running down her face as the crown is placed on her head. No-one knew that she had just been through a horrific ordeal and nearly lost her life. It’s the moment that changed her destiny.
July 16, 2014
Nominated for a 2014 Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking, the film goes beyond the screen to empower victims of sexual violence to speak up through its website, in community screenings and on social media.
CNN spoke with Peck and Lessner in May about what it took to complete the film and how it continues to have an impact. The following transcript has been edited for length and clarity…
Times Of Israel
July 10, 2014
Brave Miss World, a documentary about former Miss World Linor Abargil, picked up an Emmy nomination for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking on Thursday. Abargil, an Israeli beauty queen and former model, was crowned Miss World in 1998, just a handful of weeks after being brutally raped by a travel agent. Rather than keep mum about the experience, she began a worldwide campaign to encourage other victims of sexual abuse and violence to speak about their experiences, an endeavor that is chronicled in the film.
June 19, 2014
Brave Miss World, Cecilia Peck’s intimate documentary portrait, illuminates the ways the attack changed the course of her subject’s life — and shows that, in this supposedly enlightened age, rape victims who speak out are still often stigmatized rather than championed, even on U.S. college campuses.
The film begins as Abargil launches a website where victims can share their stories and follows her as she travels the globe to visit with survivors of rape, Joan Collins and Fran Drescher among them. Lesser-known women offer direct-to-camera testimony in some of the documentary’s strongest sequences. Their horrendous stories take a toll on Abargil, who’s compelling in her vulnerability and compassion as well as her toughness and anger.
Given considerable access over four years, Peck celebrates Abargil as an impassioned and inspiring advocate while making clear the emotional complexities of her single-mindedness. With typical decisiveness, the beauty queen leaps into action to oppose parole for the serial rapist who attacked her. The conversation in Brave Miss World never touches on rehabilitation for the perpetrator; Abargil’s focus is those who fall prey, and her empowering example is the refusal to internalize such victimhood.
Le Figaro (France)
Jun 23, 2014
Dans un documentaire intitulé « Brave Miss World », réalisé par Cécilia Peck (1), Linor Abargil, Miss Monde 1998, fait entendre son combat. Violée deux mois avant son sacre, l’ancienne reine de beauté devenue avocate, milite pour que les femmes brisées sortent du silence.
June 18, 2014
Two teenage sisters were found raped and hung by attackers from a mango tree in India last month – yet another case of violence against women in a country where a rape is committed every 22 minutes.
But this is not happening in India alone. More than three years after the Arab Spring uprising, Egypt has experienced a plague of sexual assaults. And the more than 200 school girls kidnapped by Islamist militant group Boko Haram in Nigeria are still missing. Colleges and universities across the U.S., meanwhile, have been trying to figure out how best to deal with a proliferation of rape cases on campus.
How can we stop this global epidemic? Linor Abargil was 18 when she was abducted and raped in Milan, Italy—just six weeks before she had to represent Israel in the Miss World competition in 1998. Abargil won, and used her new-found influence to fight for justice for other victims of sexual abuse. Her journey is the subject of the documentary, Brave Miss World.
January 1, 2014
We all have defining moments in our lives. Often they’re in retrospect, when we can look back and say, “There! There is where our world changed.” For Linor Abargil, the demarcation was sudden and brutal. In October 1998, on a deserted road outside Milan, travel agent Uri Shlomo Nur raped and stabbed the 18-year-old, forever bifurcating her life into Before and After.
November 20, 2013
“Once Linor decided she was ready to speak out about rape and tell her story she wanted to document it [on a large scale],” Cecilia told me. “When she was 18 and had spoken out after her trial in Israel, she said to all the women in Israel, ‘If I can do this, you can too, and if something happened don’t be afraid to report it.’ The incidence of reports rose dramatically that year and also several laws were changed as a result of what she did.” According to her, Israel enacted a law that notifies sexual assault victims when their rapists are eligible for parole as a direct result of Linor’s advocacy. “Linor wanted to see if she could accomplish that on a bigger scale,” said Cecilia.
The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
November 19, 2013
Before Brave Miss World, Cecilia Peck most recently directed and produced, with Barbara Kopple, the feature-length documentary Shut Up & Sing, which chronicles the political backlash against and the artistic triumph of the Dixie Chicks following their criticism of President Bush just prior to the invasion of Iraq. The film, shortlisted for the 2007 Academy Awards, was awarded Best Documentary by the Boston Society of Film Critics and the San Diego Film Critics.
Q&A after the DOCNYC screening
November 16, 2013
But BRAVE NEW WORLD isn’t just Abargil’s story. It’s the story of many men and women who haven’t yet come forward about their assaults, as well as those who were brave enough to share their experiences on camera. Four of those women joined Peck, Reif, and editor Inbal B. Lessner on stage for the Q&A after the screening, and were greeted with thunderous applause from the audience.
November 14, 2013
“How do I protect my daughter? I couldn’t protect myself.” That impossible question and sobering comment, from a mother at a gathering of rape survivors, is one of many gut-wrenching moments in Brave Miss World. The doc’s spine is the story of beauty queen Linor Abargil, who was raped at the age of 18.
November 13, 2013
‘Brave Miss World’ director Cecilia Peck says 1998 Miss World Linor Abargil sought her out to make a documentary of her path from rape victim to advocate for other victims whose stories are also told.
- It is shocking to hear the details of the rapes of these big stars. But perhaps even more heart-wrenching are the stories of seemingly typical women and girls whom Abargil interviewed, which are interspersed throughout the film.
- Abargil encourages survivors to speak out and not let their rape define who they are. As proved in the film, it seems like once one victim of rape comes forward, others follow 10-fold.
- Her journey, chronicled over five years in the powerful new film Brave Miss World, took her around the globe—from living with her family in Israel to meeting with talkative young rape survivors in South Africa to attending a vigil at Princeton University in New Jersey and finally to Italy to face the place where her rape occurred.
February 19, 2013
AMY GOODMAN:Let’s turn to a clip of some of the survivors who Linor meets with. And I met them up at Barnard College, as they are still so emotional, so wrecked, and also strong, you know, all at the same time,
AMY GOODMAN:I mean, this is really the coming together of two remarkable women, Linor and you, yourself. You are a documentary filmmaker [Cecilia Peck]
Huff Post Live
- Giving back to other women and helping is part of that healing process.
- The film is a guide for friends and mothers and communities around victims.
The Times of India
- The film has these women finally coming out in the open and talking about mental and physical trauma of the crime they’ve been subjected to.
San Jose Mercury News
“Peck’s work is as urgent and important as last year’s “The Invisible War”… “Brave Miss World” is not only well-made, it’s a soul-stirring experience that will outrage.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
April 12, 2013
- There are many evocative moments in the riveting documentary“Brave Miss World,” a courageous and sagacious celebration of survival.
The Daily Campus, SMU
- Defeated is not a theme that persists in “Brave Miss World,” a documentary that features the journey of survivors of sexual assault.
The Jewish Press
June 18, 2013
- The documentary explores not only her experience, how she was able to survive the violence, how she escaped, but also how she had the strength to do what so few rape victims do: speak out, and not do what most victims do: blame themselves, allow others to blame them, and hide.
Washington Jewish Week
- Linor Abargil, crowned both Miss Israel and Miss World in 1998, is on a mission to create “a very open and public discussion about rape without being ashamed. That is my wish.”
- Brave Miss World is a 90-minute, often wrenching movie, in which Abargil discusses being raped and moving on, while never forgetting.
Hegnar Online, Norway
July 5, 2013
Dallas International Film Festival
April 8, 2013
- In a world too often plagued by anguish and pain, true beauty can be hard to find. Linor Abargil is proof, however, that such beauty exists. And that’s not simply in reference to her looks, stunning as they may be, but also due to her beautiful and infallible spirit.
- BRAVE MISS WORLD doesn’t define Linor by one tragic event, rather it focuses on the incredible woman she has become, and paves the way for other women to take back control of their own lives as well.
- The film fearlessly confronts a difficult subject with both an elegant grace and an extreme fierceness, giving victims not only a voice, but also hope for a better future.
Nov. 17, 2011
- I’ve always been interested in women who stand up for what they believe in, and in the cost of courage.
- Linor wanted the film to be about urging other women not to stay silent and not to blame themselves.
- The only way we can make a difference for rape victims is by telling our stories.
Dec. 14, 2008
- Abargil said that after her case was publicized, women from around the world contacted her with their own stories, and she understood it would be her life’s task to encourage other rape victims to break their silence.
- “The only way we can help each other and make a change in our society is by telling our stories,” Linor says.
Aqua Green Diaries
March 3, 2013
– Due to this (Shlomo’s) conviction, cases of rape being reported in Israel increased by 80%