Madame Presidentá:  Why Not U.S.? Chronicles the journey of two women, one from Pittsburgh and one from Rio de Janeiro, as they explore the key question of why so many other countries have elected female presidents before the United States. In the process they make important discoveries about democracies, civic engagement, community, and women’s rights. The film is a collaboration of the Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania, and ELAS: Women’s Social Investment Fund in Rio de Janeiro.

Growing up, local women’s rights activist and filmmaker Heather Arnet’s grandmother, Vivian (now age 97), regaled her with stories. Her favorites were of her great grandmother, Mary, the suffragette who marched for decades for women to earn the right to vote. “You must vote in every election – large and small,” Vivian would say, “because other women fought and died for you to have that right.”  Vivian’s secret dream – passed down from her mother – was to someday help elect the first woman president. In her lifetime, fifty women would run for President of the United States. None of them successfully.

Inspired by her grandmother’s story, and the girls she serves everyday in the Pittsburgh region, Arnet traveled to Brazil in 2013 to interview women from different regions and socio economic backgrounds asking them to share their stories of how in the span of a single generation, this dynamic and beautiful country, went from historic poverty to historic riches; from rape in the streets to a woman in the Presidential palace. The resulting one-hour documentary will debut in March 2014 on Pittsburgh’s own WQED Multimedia, and at the Carnegie Museum of Art in the final month of its “International” exhibit. The film will then tour college campuses, community centers, middle and high schools, and other screening venues throughout PA, the U.S., and Brazil.

Learn more about Madame Presidenta: Why Not U.S.? at