NORTH HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES -- A North Hollywood high school teacher and her students are up for an Academy Award for best documentary short subject.
It's about a taboo subject - menstruation. There's no easy way to talk about it, but a group of high school students are changing the conversation.
Melissa Berton is a producer on "Period. End of Sentence," as well as an Oakwood High School English teacher.
"I think it has been a profound experience from start to finish," she said.
In 2013, she advised a group of Oakwood students, who were selected as United Nations delegates, to advocate for women and girls. That's when their journey to normalize menstruation began.
"Who better to sort of be the voice for that than high school young women who are in that moment?" she said.
Originally, the short documentary was a marketing tool for their bigger vision -- a nonprofit they created called the Pad Project. Their mission was to get a machine that creates biodegradable pads to a rural village in India.
"We never thought it would be an Oscar-nominated film but the idea was always, if we could just make an educational film to raise awareness about this issue then that would be the jewel in the crown of our nonprofit," Berton said.
The students were in charge of fundraising, creating the nonprofit and bringing the documentary to life. Seven executive producers on the project are either in college or in grad school and several associate producers are still in high school.
They put the documentary through the film festival circuit and received award after award and then the Academy Award nomination. But the biggest achievement of all is for the students and Berton, who are normalizing periods for women around the world.
"I think the students have felt different responses from their classmates and have felt a little less shy about something that maybe we don't need to feel so shy about," Berton said.
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Oscars 2019: High school students, teacher from North Hollywood nominated for work on 'Period. End of Sentence'