Director Biography – Mishal Mahmud (BREACH OF TRUST)

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Mishal Mahmud is a Pakistani filmmaker and second year MFA student studying film and television production at the University of Southern California. At USC, she made five short films and became deeply passionate about directing, editing, and producing. Her love of both film and social justice eventually led her to developing and directing Breach of Trust, her first documentary short.

 

Director Statement

For three decades George Tyndall was the only full-time gynecologist at USC, and although complaints of sexual misconduct were lodged against him as far back as 1989, Tyndall was not asked to resign until 2017 after a nurse named Cindy Gilbert reported him to the rape crisis center.

George Tyndall was given a financial payout and was not reported to the state medical board or law enforcement agencies. Although an independent investigation had found him guilty of sexual misconduct, it was not until the LA Times released an investigative report about the Tyndall case that the tens of thousands of patients that were treated by him became aware what had happened.

For me, this film began with anger, confusion, and anxiety. I could not understand why this was able to persist for so long, how multiple survivors and employees had come forward over the course of three decades and little to nothing was done. Slowly, I started to meet the women who were affected by this case and in hearing their stories, the importance of this film became more and more undeniable. I cared about this project so deeply, and knew that I wanted to do everything I could to help tell this story. But as an inexperienced director the anxiety that came with misrepresenting or sensationalizing this narrative was overwhelming.

Slowly but surely, I found myself working with people who believed in this story and wanted to do everything they could to do the project justice. This, along with being honored with the trust of Amanda, Dana, Kay, Brennan, Matt, Jane, Ariela, and Cindy made me want to put my own fears aside and do what we hope the USC administration will eventually do- which is to genuinely engage with this story and to seek out it’s truth.

Brennan, Amanda, Dana, Kay, Matt, Jane, Ariela, and Cindy are all either USC students, alumni, faculty members, or former staff. And despite what has happened and how they were treated by USC’s administration, they are all deeply committed to making this community better.

We started off with a dark story about institutional complicity and neglect, but what we eventually found was a community of people who were compassionate and subversive and heroic. I think I can speak for the crew when I say that being able to collaborate with our subjects in telling their stories, in telling this story, has been the greatest privilege for us all.

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