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“I Am Brave” – A Conversation with Cecilia Peck

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Michele-Gillen-600x450 Michele Gillen
Michele Gillen is chief investigative reporter at WFOR-TV, Mi...
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — CBS4 News Chief Investigative Reporter Michele Gillen takes us into the world of Brave Miss World and a campaign against rape to stand up and share one’s story, one’s strength, one’s secrets.

“And now, Miss World, 1998, is ….Miss Israel.”

It was an announcement televised around the world. It sparked applause in the audience and tears of joy on stage for Linor Abargil, the beautiful young contestant who won the title but behind her tears was a nightmare that would change the life of the beauty queen and ultimately trigger a mission for an award-winning, impassioned filmmaker, who happens to have a famous last name, Cecilia Peck.

“I thought I was embarking on maybe a one year film following a beauty queen around but it turned out to be the most important film I could ever do,” shared a reflective Peck.

The passion and the film that has consumed her these past 5 years, is the making of Brave Miss World.

It is a documentary she hopes will make a seismic impact on the healing of women who are raped, including Linor Abargil. The film powerfully gives voice to their stories, over and over again.

Speaking to the camera, one woman shared, “The police felt that I was not holding up my end of the bargain because I am blind and I could not describe the rapist.”

Another woman revealed, ” My name is Julie. Rape just makes you feel degraded and disgusting, someone taking everything away from you.”

It exposes their treatment in the system and in their confidence to know, there is a better tomorrow.

“She tried to convince me that I just had a weak moment and that it was my fault.”

CBS4 Chief Investigative Reporter Michele Gillen sat down with Peck while she was visiting Miami.

Gillen asked her about how the idea for this film, indeed the need for it in Peck’s opinion, made her stop everything else to do it.

“You know some work does feel like a calling, like you were really meant to do this, even if you might not have known it,” Peck revealed.

It is not just the twinkle in Peck’s eyes that make her reminiscent of her famous father, one of the most beloved and iconic American film actors, Gregory Peck but she carries on his determination to shine light on hidden ills and issues of injustice.

“You have to have that kind of passion about the story you’re telling to do it and hopefully that all goes into the film and makes it powerful. I think anything that is really good takes a fight, don’t you,” asked Peck.

Gillen and Peck talked about the moving scenes and dialogue from the film To Kill A Mockingbird, considered one of the greatest and most influential films in American cinema history.

Playing attorney Atticus Finch, he intoned in court, as he defended a wrongly accused man charged with rape,“In this country, our courts are the great levelers, and our courts all may not be created equal.”

“He just did it all with such grace and dignity and I’m always wondering, how did he do it and trying to see if I can do that too,” Peck shared with a humble and hopeful smile.

Watch the report, click here

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