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Scarlet Girls | Niñas Escarlata

Documentary (hybrid) - in postproduction


What does it mean to be a woman in the Dominican Republic? One of the few countries in the world where abortion remains criminalized without exceptions. Through visceral stories and evocative imagery, we navigate the depths of women's struggles, from forced motherhood to the haunting stigma of women who are deemed criminals for having abortions. Sensations from the unconscious infiltrate reality, crafting a reflective depiction that invites us to delve into the obscured layers entwined with the endeavor to control women's bodies

Director Statement

For as long as I can remember, one of my biggest fears has been getting pregnant. During my adolescence, each of my sexual encounters was preceded by an inevitable paranoia that arose from the question: "What if I end up pregnant?".

Throughout this stage of my life, I began to ponder on topics that felt important within my context and sense of identity. What does it mean to be a woman? Why is my own bodily autonomy restricted according to geographical location? What happens to young girls and women who find themselves in a far more disadvantaged position than me, but who share the same daunting fear of unwanted pregnancy, and do not want to become mothers?

My home country of the Dominican Republic has the particularity of being one of few in the world with a complete ban and criminalization on the practice of abortion, as established by our penal code in 1844, which to this day remains unchanged. There are numerous consequences to this radical, complete ban, including a high rate of maternal mortality – every two days a woman dies from causes related to pregnancy and abortion.

Yet to say that Scarlet Girls is a film just about abortion would be a lie. The film delves far beyond the surface, exposing the intricate layers that exist alongside the severe restrictions on abortion access and the imposition of forced motherhood. Scarlet Girls aims to unravel the multifaceted truths, encompassing issues such as the relentless control over women's bodies, the pervasive influence of systemic sexism in women's daily experiences, the isolating burden of guilt, pain, and shame they are made to bear alone, and the transformative shift in identity when a woman realizes society deems her actions for autonomy as criminal.

Scarlet Girls seeks to expand the peripheral view on the topic of abortion, to foster introspection and to encourage critical thinking. In a society where religion is, in fact, the opioid of its people, the act of questioning becomes an immensely revolutionary act.



The DOCS UP Fund Award was won by Scarlet Girls, by Paula Cury (Dominican Republic). The fund supports international feature length documentaries dedicated to human rights, and encourages awareness of the importance of impact campaigns on all contemporary issues. The award is valued at €1500 and is designed to support the impact campaign of one of the projects. Also included is a consulting service for the duration of the film’s editing phase.



“Your cinematic and directional intuitions on a burning subject matter with a daring approach impressed us. We will be very pleased to contribute to your journey of filmmaking and provide you with mentorship in the lab, and guide you in finding financial opportunities and funding the Talents.”

Festivals & Awards

Awards & Funds

DOCS UP FUND Award, Impact Days, Suiza, 2023

JUST FILMS Ford Foundation, USA, 2023

FONPROCINE, Production, Dom. Rep., 2021

FONPROCINE, Development, Dom. Rep., 2020

Film Markets

SHEFFIELD Meet Market, United Kingdom, 2024

FIFDH Impact Days, Switzerland, 2023

CONECTA Market, Chile, 2021

DOKLEIPZIG Co-Pro Market, Germany, 2021

CANNES Marché du Film, Dominican Pitching Sessions, 2021

Film Labs

BERLINALE TALENTS Doc Station, Alemania, 2022
IDFA Academy, Países Bajos, 2022

CONECTA Campus Latino, Chile (virtual) 2021
LA INCUBADORA FILMICA, Chile (virtual) 2021
DGCINE Desarrollo de ideas, Rep. Dom. 2020
ISLAB Cine en red, Puerto Rico, 2020

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