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Post-production   /  Rose Smith

Striking Distance

Facing What Scares you Makes You Brave.


Impact areas





  • DIRECTOR Rose Smith

  • PRODUCER Stuart Scowcroft



In 2015 a group of girls with only a year's worth of training in Martial Arts won 3 National Titles and an invitation to compete in Japan, where one of them took first place in an international competition against a Japanese boy.

Over the course of four years we have filmed the progress of the girls as they compete in Australia's biggest & most prestigious martial arts competition, The National All Styles, culminating in the girls creating their own competition for girls only in April 2018.

Facing their fears, turning stereotypes on their heads and kicking some serious butt, these young women learned that the most important lesson is; facing what scares you makes you brave.

Support this project

48.98% funded
  • $50,000.00

  • $24,490.45

  • December 2019

  • 32

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Ruby Farquhar $100.00
Bill Mealing $20.00
Kelly O’Brien $1,532.45
Maria Farris $50.00
Debbie Swanson $50.00
Anonymous $5.00
Kelie Fisher $20.00
Gary Palmer $20.00
McHugh Family $20.00
Fiona Barlow $100.00
Melanie McHugh $50.00
Adrian Quek $600.00
Elizabeth Armstrong $50.00
Samantha Gannon $20.00
Margaret O'Brien $20.00
Louise Sullivan $100.00
Margaret O'Brien $50.00
Ben Williams $50.00
Dean Stuart $30.00
Azad Ekmekjian $550.00
Andrea Harrison $710.00
Anonymous $520.00
Anonymous $220.00
Angela Nikolic $300.00
Deborah Scown $300.00
Melinda Haining $1,500.00
Anonymous $300.00
Anonymous $520.00
Carmen Lia $320.00
Ben Chen $100.00
Anonymous $1,000.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

In Australia every week, one woman is killed at the hands of her partner or ex partner. In 2018, 79 women and 29 children were killed in domestic violence.
1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18. 90% of victims under 12 know their abuser. Just under half a million Australian women reported experiencing sexual violence/ assault within the last 18 months.

Women who fight back their attacker are 86% more likely to avoid rape or sustain further injury. And yet, only 5% of women learn self defense.
Self defence teaches women the skills to develop healthy physical and emotional boundaries
Self defence also challenges the belief that women's bodies are inherently vulnerable to attack and that men's bodies are unstoppable. Learning self defence is empowering, and changes women's beliefs about what they are capable of and what they are entitled to.

As we follow these teenage girls on their martial arts journey, we see these very words come true.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

I want girls everywhere to access safe, affordable and effective self defence as part of every school's curriculum. Self defence shouldn't be the last resort after the damage has been done. Mastery over your own body gives you mastery over your own destiny, and we see it in these brave girls throughout the story of Striking Distance.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

It is our mission to get this message out to the world! We want all girls, everywhere, to be inspired to take up the challenge - to learn to defend themselves, to feel strong and powerful in their own bodies, and to be confident to say "I deserve better".
Short term ;
The amazing young women in our documentary also deserve better; equal recognition for their achievements and respect for their hard work and commitment. With your support, we can make this a reality.
Medium Term ;
Recently (April 2019) I have been contacted by UNSW to have round table discussions about getting the self defence program mapped to the NSW curriculum. Other stakeholders are the AFP and LMA (Lebanese Muslim Association) - this was off the back of seeing our sizzle reel for Striking Distance.
Long Term ;
Long term what I hope is for the documentary to be a catalyst for martial arts everywhere - to rethink how we teach & attract women and girls + and to create equal opportunities for women in martial arts


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

Monica O'Brien, Executive Producer, Ambience Entertainment
Dr Anne Bunde-Biroste University of NSW
Assmaah Helal - Lebanese Muslim Association / Creating Chances
Imugi Martial Arts - Medowie ; regional martial arts school supporting us putting on our all - girl competitions

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

There are three things I want viewers to do after watching Striking Distance
1) get inspired - directly go out and do a self defence program, facilitated by being able to reach out to an affiliated dojo on our Striking Distance website
2) Get Angry - not enough is being done to protect women from domestic violence. Instead of wringing our hands, we need to get girls taking action and learning self defence. It won't stop violence against women, but it will help women and girls make better choices for themselves and have higher expectations about what they deserve and are entitled to. Getting angry about how poorly women are treated in the martial arts world will generate more discussion and more demand for things to change
3) take action - either through hosting screenings, organizing and holding self defence workshops, demanding self defence become part of the curriculum, or donating to programs who are helping raise the profile of womens martial arts.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

I will know we have achieved our vision when school principals and parents start making opportunities for girls to do self defence in schools. The other way will be when our all girls competition, the first of which was held last year, is a permanent fixture on the Australian martial arts calendar. And finally, when people take girls doing martial arts seriously.