Facing either the wrath of her parents or a forced marriage to a man more than twice her age, fifteen year old Evie makes an impossible choice

Child marriage. These two words together typically invoke imagery of girls on foreign shores being forced to wed by strange men. Or as part of a religious ceremony that bears no resemblance to anything here the United States. At least that’s what director Mike Peebler thought until he heard a story on the radio one day about a child bride in modern day Florida.

Skeptically I embarked on my own research about the topic. Only to discover at the time that not only was there a case of child marriage in Florida, but that child marriage was legal in all 50 states in the US. 18 states had no legal minimum age for marriage. Between the years of 2000-2010, a quarter million girls under 18 had been married. Many to men significantly older than themselves. The youngest was 12. This seemed impossible to me, and in the continuing desire to affect positive change I approached my writing and producing partner with the topic as an idea to explore for our next short film project.

After completing the script for ‘Evie’, we weren’t comfortable moving forward without verifying that what we had created felt authentic, that it told a story reflecting the reality of what these girls experience. So we reached out to Unchained at Last, an organization that helps women recover from forced marriages and also sponsors legislation to change the laws state by state. With their blessing and notes on the script, we ran a successful crowdfunding campaign and financed our short film, donating 5% of the proceeds back to Unchained At Last.

Before production began on the short, we finished the feature length script of the film so that we were totally informed about the characters and their circumstances. In addition to raising awareness about this terrible problem, it is our hope that the short will help us finance and produce the feature film version and get this story in front of as many people as possible.