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'Girls State' documentary features Missouri girls building a government from the ground up

'Girls State' is streaming now on Apple TV+.
Courtesy of Apple
'Girls State' is streaming now on Apple TV+.

The documentary "Girls State," a follow-up to the critically acclaimed 2020 film "Boys State," centers on young women in Missouri as they navigate politics and create a mock government. The film is streaming now on Apple TV+.

For decades, the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary have hosted programs for high school juniors to learn about government — by building one themselves. The programs, called Boys State and Girls State respectively, exist across the nation.

Now, the experience of students at Missouri Girls State is the subject of a new documentary.

"Girls State," directed by Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss, is a follow-up to the duo's critically acclaimed 2020 film "Boys State," which followed participants at Texas Boys State.

The documentary was filmed in 2022, just before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The leaked Dobbs decision, in the context of Missouri's trigger law that was set to restrict nearly all abortions, was impactful for McBaine, especially as the Girls State Supreme Court ruled on an abortion-related case.

"To hear that case be argued on both sides, by girls, in front of a Supreme Court of women, in front of an audience of young women was really a very special moment," she told KCUR's Up To Date. "A moment where these girls could kind of take the conversation back, own it themselves — if only for a brief moment."

  • Jesse Moss, director, "Girls State"
  • Amanda McBaine, director, "Girls State"
  • Faith Glasgow, student featured in "Girls State"
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