Khethiwe & The Leopard
resonates as director Pamela Romanowsky's tribute to awkward girls everywhere. A poignant portrait of one middle schooler's struggle to tame a group of menacing bullies, this Shatterbox Anthology
short feature captures the dilemma too often faced by adolescents — the desire to hang on to the creativity and energy that make them unique, while still fitting in with a judgmental peer group. For Romanowsky, Khethiwe's pain was deeply familiar. "I wanted to build a story with girls at the center of it — I was remembering what it was like when I was 13, an often-muddy outdoor child and a daydreamer who loved to write," Romanowsky says. "Before I joined a mainstream school, my imagination gave me my sense of self. After I switched out of the Montessori program, it made me realize how weird I was. My intelligence and creativity made me a target for bullying, and I stopped talking about it."