Of, by & for women
The eighth AsianWomen's Film Festival organised by the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) concluded this week in the city.
Held to commemorate the International Women's Day, this year’s edition centred around ‘Mediation, Movements and Memories’. Up for screening were 45 films from 16 countries which celebrated the diversity of women filmmakers, ranging from international favourites’ to artistic experiments along the fringes of the genre to community videos.
The content of the films explored wide ranging issues which women face daily. Be it the struggle for justice in public spaces; people’s movement for green energy as an alternative to nuclear power, dilemmas, fears, anxieties and choices relating to childbirth; sexuality; relationship and identity issues or answering questions related to freedom, all this and more was explored with conviction.
Reena Mohan, co-director of the festival told Metrolife: “These films provide a fresh insight and new way of looking at life. Though the festival is essentially for women filmmakers, our audience comprised a lot of men too, so there are films which looks at concerns of equal importance in both the genders.
This festival encourages new filmmakers also to come up with their work and showcase it to a wider audience,” she adds.
The mixed audience at the festival was spoilt for choice given the sheer variety.
One of the most remarkable films to be screened was Two Women and a Camera, a 33-minute documentary by Pakistani filmmakers Madiha Adnan and Nazish Sajjad which documents everyday life in the Talibanised city of Mardan in Khyber Pakhtunistan. It underlines the subordination of women living in a highly patriarchal social setup. The film also is revealing of how the two young women fillmmakers are determined to make a difference despite the overwhelming circumstances in which they have to shoot.
This was followed by the screening of another evocative and gripping documentary by the Israeli filmmaker duo Limor Pinchasov and Yael Sachar. Melissa, Mom and Me, explores the complex lives of strippers, especially the bold and beautiful 30-year-old Melissa, a American dancer of Israeli origin with a heartwarming smile but whose eyes tell a different and poignant tale.
Talking about women’s obssession with maintaining their body sizes was the young Indonesian Filmmaker, Kiki Febriyanti. Her 14-minute work titled Yup, it’s my body, explored the issue that women face constantly with their body sizes and how they deal with it. Kiki said, “I want people, especially women to stop bothering about their size and start enjoying their bodies irrespective. They shouldn’t worry about either being too thin or too fat; people should feel comfortable in their skin.”
Kiki’s debut film Don’t call me Crazy has featured at the Madurai Film Festival earlier.
Sharmila Samant’s brief documentary Dilemma, a five-minute amalgam of different production techniques explores a mother’s concern for her unborn son. As a mother she is scared to bring her child into a world where she is sure that she will have no control over his life.
Among the other films that deserve special mention are A Balloon for Allah, a film by the Norwegian director Nefise Ozkal Lorentzen, which looks at Islam and the role of women in Muslim cultures.
A fictional work The Original Photocopy of Happiness by a Bhutanese filmmaker Dechen Roder explores a 16-year-old girl’s quest to find her father and thus identity.
My Letter to Pippa, a Kurdish film showcasing the protagonist, Pippa Bacca’s hitch-hiking expedition from Rome to the Middle East to promote world peace was also a hit with the audience.