ISLAMABAD: The fifth edition of the Women International Film Festival opened on Saturday with two dozen selected entries that will be shown over two days.

Owing to the ongoing pandemic, the event was streamed live on Facebook and YouTube this year. The event was held with the support of the embassies of France and Germany.

Out of the 250 entries from across the world, this year’s programme was set to screen 24 films made by women from all over the world, including five local films, namely Playing at the Boundary by Nida Kirmani, This Shaking Keeps Me Steady by Shehrezad Maher, Vote for Xby Tazeen Bari, No more Backseatersby Gul Nayani and How She Movesby Aisha Linnea Akhtar and Anya Raza.

Other films that will be featured in the festival will be from Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Italy, Russia, Spain, the UK and the US. A panel discussion on female stereotypes in storytelling will also be held.

As a platform that celebrated women, the films focused on narratives of love and freedom, and of solitude and acceptance. Organisers believed that few women have directorial roles to begin with. There were also no platforms available for women to make films and also for like-minded women to come together. While a film showcases how women could be as good as men in mountain biking, others movies shown included productions like Cybercity, The Wall andLady Edison, which was about a factory worker who invented a machine that folded and glued paper to form brown bags. No More Backseaters was about Pakistani women riding motorcycles.

Over the years, the festival has aimed to fill the gender gap in film and widen appreciation for independent cinema, by creating a platform for diverse storytellers from all over the world. The overarching aim is to promote female filmmakers by building and uniting the next wave of talent and connecting the film community.

Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2021

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