By GEORGE DICKIE
Gal Gadot may play a superhero on the big screen but she’s happy to call attention to a few real-life heroines as executive producer of a documentary series upcoming on National Geographic.
In “Impact With Gal Gadot,” a six-part series premiering Monday on the cablenet’s YouTube channel and social media platforms, the Israeli “Wonder Woman” actress teams up with filmmaker Vanessa Roth (“Aging Out,” “No Tomorrow”) to chronicle the stories of six women living in areas marred by violence, discrimination, poverty or natural disaster, who stand up, speak out and lead in their efforts to make their communities a better place.
In the six episodes, viewers meet people such as a 19-year-old college student in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico trying to ensure residents have clean, safe drinking water; a trauma therapist in Half Moon Bay, Calif., who lost her sister to COVID-19 and helps women affected by the pandemic to heal through surf therapy; a young ballerina in drug-violence-ridden Rio de Janeiro who through dance has created a community that points girls toward a better future; and a Detroit figure skater who dedicates her life to coaching and empowering girls on the ice and off.
“I think that with all these women, what we can see is that all of them come from difficult circumstances … and yet, it fuels them,” Gadot said. “It gives them more power to dare, to dream, to change, to speak up and to really make a change in their communities. I don’t know, to be honest, many women with this extent of an impact by the actions that they do that are (selfless) and are not about themselves, but purely about the community. … And I’m so inspired by the fact that by (their actions they have) a ripple effect that it’s just huge. It’s incredible.”
That’s especially the case in the opening episode that introduces Arianna, who leads a team of college students who invented a water filtration system to give the people of Puerto Rico potable drinking water after years of living without it thanks to a lack of government assistance in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017.
It’s stories such as this that left both Gadot and Roth touched and inspired.
“We made a really conscious effort to make the series something that the word ‘obstacle’ is very fluid,” Roth said, “because we all face these obstacles and different things in our lives that bring us out into becoming someone of impact. I think that the thing that’s really, to me, special about the whole series and all the women that we have is that whatever their obstacle or challenge has been, what the commonality of all of it is that the women chose to do something in that moment.”