The Trials of Spring

In 2011, men and women stood shoulder to shoulder as the promise of change spread like wildfire across the Middle East and North Africa.

woman protesting
Premiere Date
March 25, 2019
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Series and Special Projects
Executive Producer

Abigail Disney

Abigail E. Disney is a filmmaker, philanthropist and the CEO and president of Fork Films. Disney’s longtime passion for women’s issues and peace building culminated in producing her first film, Pray the Devil Back to Hell (winner, Best Documentary Feature, Tribeca Film Festival 2008). She then executive produced the five-part PBS series, Women, War & Peace. Show more Since then, she has produced numerous acclaimed social-issue films, including 1971, Citizen Koch, Family Affair, Hot Girls Wanted, The Invisible War (2012 Academy Award nominee, Best Documentary Feature), Return and Sun Come Up (2011 Academy Award nominee, Best Documentary Short). The Armor of Light is her directorial debut. Disney is also the founder and president of Peace Is Loud, a nonprofit organization that seeks to identify and support women who are stepping up for peace and resisting violence in their communities. Show less

filmmaker Beth Levison

Beth Levison

Levison is an Emmy and Peabody-winning independent producer in NYC. Her most recently produced film, WOMEN IN BLUE, about gender, race and violence in America through the eyes of female police officers with the Minneapolis Police Department, is being shown as a “Work in Progress” at AFI DOCS 2020. That film will broadcast on Independent Lens in 2021. MADE IN BOISE, Show more premiered at AFI DOCS 2019, was the series opener of Independent Lens’ 2019/2020 season, and is currently available internationally. Previously produced projects include the Emmy-nominated Personal Statement (PBS 2018) and 32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide (HBO 2017). Levison is a co-founder of the Documentary Producers Alliance, faculty with SVA’s MFA program in Social Documentary Film, and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Show less


Gini Reticker

Gini Reticker is an executive producer of Women, War & Peace and directed both Pray the Devil Back to Hell and the third film in the series about Afghanistan, Peace Unveiled. Reticker is one of the world’s leading documentary filmmakers putting a lens on the real-life dramatic stories of women’s rights and international social justice issues. Show more Reticker produced Asylum, the 2004 Academy Award®-nominated short focusing on the story of a Ghanaian woman who fled female genital mutilation to seek political asylum in the U.S.; and was the producer/co-director of 1994 Sundance Award-winning Heart of the Matter, the first full length documentary about the impact of HIV on women in the U.S. She produced and directed the 2005 Emmy Award-winning documentary Ladies First for the PBS series WIDE ANGLE, which focuses on the role of women in rebuilding post-genocide Rwanda. She also garnered an Emmy for directing and producing Out of the Darkness, focusing on women and depression. For WIDE ANGLE she has also directed The Class of 2006, which spotlights the first fifty women in Morocco to graduate from an imam academy in Rabat. Other credits include: Producer: A Decade Under the Influence, a look at the heyday of 1970s filmmakers, winner of a National Review Board Award and an Emmy nomination for Best Documentary; Director: In the Company of Women, IFC’s spotlight on women in Hollywood; Co-Producer: The Betrayal, Nerakhoon, Ellen Kuras, and Thavisouk Phravasath’s brilliant portrayal of a Laotian refugee family’s epic tale of survival and resilience, 2009 nominee for both an Academy Award and Independent Spirit Award; Executive Producer: Live Nude Girls Unite, Julia Query and Vicki Funari’s raucous look at the successful union organizing efforts of San Francisco-based strippers. Reticker is member of both the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America. Show less


Zainab Salbi

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The Film

With a simple yet galvanizing slogan: “bread, freedom and social justice for all,” decades-old regimes fell amid a swell of unity and optimism in the Middle Eastern and North African region. But almost immediately following the fall of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, women became targets of sexual and physical violence at public protests. Three Egyptian women -- Hend Nafea, Khadiga Hennawi, and Mariam Kirollos -- undertake the ensuing struggle, fighting to ensure that the goals of the Arab Spring include everyone.