Head of Production
Director of Photography
Shanae, ten years old when she was gang-raped by five boys, responded to her fate by drinking and drugging, and then graduated to murder with the stabbing of a friend, at age 11. Megan, whose mother abandoned her to turn tricks to support her ravaging heroin addiction, ran away from ten different foster homes before being arrested for attacking another foster child with a box cutter. Both girls ended up in the Waxter Juvenile Facility, home to Maryland’s most violent juvenile offenders, and it is here that Girlhood finds them. With unprecedented access to the system and to the complex interior lives of these protagonists, the film follows the two girls over the next three years of their lives, as they struggle to come to terms with their crimes, their pasts, and their futures.
In the last decade, the number of violent assaults by under-age girls in the U.S. has doubled. Girlhood takes a look at the situations that jeopardized Shanae and Megan as an attempt to understand the contexts that put American youth in self-jeopardizing positions, and ultimately tries to come to terms with their fates, celebrating in their successes, and lamenting their downfalls.
Girlhood premiered on TLC in Fall 2004.
“Garbus brilliantly and nimbly pulls the layers back on juvenile justice statistics to reveal complicated, infuriating, and finally (and surprisingly) enchanting human beings. As a result, Girlhood is one of the most haunting and important films of the year.”
— LA Weekly
Winner of the 2003 Audience Award, South by Southwest Film Festival, Audience Award, Nantucket Film Festival, Jury Award, Atlanta Film Festival.