ISLAMABAD: The Women International Film Festival was formally launched on Saturday at the WeCreate Centre in Islamabad.

The festival is being organised by Women Through Film, an organisation that aims to facilitate women film and documentary makers through training and workshops.

The festival will be held on March 10 and 11, 2017, to mark the end of women’s week. According to Women Through Film founder Madeeha Raza, the festival invites films made by and about women.

Ms Raza said her main inspiration for the festival and for Women Through Film as well, was the 60 Second International Film Festival, organised by Abrarul Hassan. Mr Hassan is also the founder and creative director at Morangofilms, and alongside Ms Raza, took part in a panel discussion held prior to the launch.

Ms Raza said the festival submissions should centre on the given themes, which include gender equality, education for all, and social ills such as domestic violence, child marriage and honour killings. She said more subcategories will be announced as research into themes goes on.

Documentary filmmaker Tazeen Bari suggested that rather than films by women and about women, the festival should take in films made by women on any topic. Valerie Khan also suggested that when it comes to submissions from minors, there should be a child protection policy in place.

The festival will accept submissions in various categories, including ’music video’, ‘documentary’, ‘avant-garde’, ‘animation’, ‘six second comedy’ and ’48 hour shoot-out’.

Ms Raza said women enjoyed going to the movies together, which gave her the idea to use film as a platform to bring women together.

A panel discussion was also held prior to the launch, comprising Ms Raza, Mr Hassan, Tazeen Bari, Valerie Khan, Nida Fatima Zaidi, Noreena Shams and Kirthi Jayakumar, who participated in the discussion via video link from India.

The panel discussed how film and filmmakers can empower women, with each panelist speaking from their own professional experience.

Ms Bari said it is a key to tell all stories. “It’s not about telling a story of woe or a success story, it’s about telling a story.”

Ms Zaidi, a director and producer with PTV, said some of her most important work has been work that highlighted ordinary women with extraordinary stories to tell, particularly those who work in rural communities.

Ms Jayakumar, a researcher and the founder of the Red Elephant Foundation, said one of the biggest reasons that keep women away from tech and film was the patriarchal approach to society.

Speaking about the common problems facing women in the Indian subcontinent and Afghanistan, Ms Jayakumar said it was about women helping other women. She said in her time working with women in Pakistan and in India she found it very effective to “build a sisterhood and... tell women that in many ways, you are also facing issues that they are facing except that the contexts are different.”

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2016

Opinion

Kashmir question
06 Mar 2021

Kashmir question

Every single spell of détente evaporates before our very eyes.
Inventing cultural nostalgia
06 Mar 2021

Inventing cultural nostalgia

Glorifying violence & conquest through fictionalised history will have devastating consequences for Pakistan.

Editorial

Vote of confidence
Updated 06 Mar 2021

Vote of confidence

PRIME MINISTER Imran Khan’s decision to take a vote of confidence from parliament today is a bizarre move.
06 Mar 2021

PSL disaster

RAPID escalation in the number of coronavirus cases has led to the postponement of the Pakistan Super League’s...
06 Mar 2021

India ranking

WHILE India has often tooted its own horn as the ‘world’s largest democracy’ — being supported in this...
Ravi project
Updated 05 Mar 2021

Ravi project

THE assault by an enraged group of farmers on a provincial revenue team assigned to acquire land for the...
05 Mar 2021

Climate change

PAKISTAN received much less rainfall in January 2021 as compared to previous years, making it the 17th driest month...
05 Mar 2021

Antimicrobial resistance

WITH the focus on Covid-19, many health issues, though otherwise recognised as serious medical problems, tend to be...