On The Cusp, Longlist - Commercial

Seeing Red

Margot Bowman


Period poverty affects 1 in 10 in the UK and it surged in 2020 during the COVID pandemic. In fact, a survey by the charity Plan International UK showed that as many as one-third of 14 to 21s in the UK struggled to access or afford period products during lockdown. That such a basic human need should be so out of reach for such a large proportion of society, provides the creative spark to a new campaign by social enterprise Hey Girls, which was founded by Celia Hodson to tackle period poverty. The ‘Seeing Red’ film, produced by PRETTYBIRD and directed by Margot Bowman, depicts the anguish of a girl caught unprepared at school when her period starts, brought arrestingly – and graphically – to life. In it, an array of techniques are used to evoke anger – all informed by psychological insight by Dr Philip Gable, Associate Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Delaware. Variations of the film were tested before release. The results were then used to optimize the final edit to maximize the motivating form of anger and action that was intended. On average, watching the film made participants feel over 3 times angrier, results showed. Further, the more intense they found the film and the angrier they were, the stronger their desire to take action and buy Hey Girls products.

Margot Bowman is a globally-minded filmmaker who creates new worlds of possibility and power. Raised in London, Bowman is currently based between London and New York. From transcendent music videos to culturally urgent films, Bowman’s work centers women and reveals the meaningful, undeniable truths that bring us closer to one another. Dyslexia has pushed Bowman to relate to the world differently, making color her most important form of communication and a guiding principle of her process. Her creative approach is intimately influenced by club culture and the legacy of British youth movements — Punks, Mods, Acid House & UKG — set the tone for the alternative realities she creates. She was recently appointed Royal Society of Arts Fellow and released Showing Up Showing Out, a documentary about the past, present, and future of Motown.