Women filmfests to showcase varied talent and themes

NEW DELHI: Two film festivals being held in the capital to coincide with the International Women’s Day exhibit how women filmmakers add their own unique sensitivity to the subjects they pick up.

Sixteen films by the renowned filmmaker Lavlin Thadani on issues relating to women and around 25 films from five countries by Asian women on the theme of ‘Insights and Aspirations’ are to be shown in the two festivals. The second festival has been organized by the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT).

While one festival is dealing with subjects like female foeticide, the girl child, treating some women as witches, others burnt on the pyres of their husbands and so on, the other has varied subjects like the politically sensitive communal relations, social issues like the search for a suitable groom, or a historical on the famed singing saint Kabir.

The films by Thadani’s Muskan Productions are all short features which have been or to be screened on Doordarshan and have been made as commissioned programmes for the public service broadcaster. The festival commenced on 5 March and will continue till 8 March at the India Habitat Centre.

Thadani told that all the films were ‘films of hope’ and had been inspired by media reports. She admitted in reply to a question that it was often the elder women who were responsible for the atrocities on younger women, but said this was because of years of conditioning.

The IAWRT festival is being held in collaboration with the India International Centre Asia Project and UNESCO on 7 and 8 March and will feature short and full-length and animation films from Australia, Japan, Pakistan, and the United States besides India. IIC Asia-project and IAWRT will use this forum for short films dedicated to genres across animation, fiction and documentary film.

Filmmakers like Paromita Vohra who will also have a presentation on how she makes films, Dhvani Desai who uses a dying folk form to make an animation film, and Rajula Shah who explores the greatness of the 14th Century mystic Kabir, are among the filmmakers who will be present during the two-day meet.

The theme of the Fourth IAWRT Women’s Film Festival this year is ‘Insights and Aspirations’. The aim is to open up a space for debates on creative processes and concerns, Jai Chandiram who is Managing Trustee of the IAWRT told

Chandiram said recognizing the critical need for a forum that can sustain the form of documentary as well as women’s contribution to this unique form, the festival is showcasing documentary films created by women, covering a range of genres and expressive styles. It presents films that explore and reflect on how women filmmakers negotiate, resist or document political, social, cultural, environmental, educational or economic issues.

Panel discussions to be held along with the festival will examine whether women are creating a new language of filmmaking, which reflects, and explores new politics of filmmaking, and how women are widening the frame for issues concerning women.

The IAWRT Women’s Festival has in the past traveled to many cities in India .The last festival had screenings in Kolkata, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune and Madurai.

The earlier three IAWRT festivals were on the themes of ‘Expressions in Freedom’, ‘Women, Media and Society: Transformations’, and ‘Reflections: Women Imaging Realities.’

The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) is a non–profit professional organization of women working in electronic and allied media. The IAWRT is a non-government organization (NGO), in consultative status with United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

IAWRT seeks to ensure women’s views and values become an integral part of programme making. It offers professional skill-training to women. It provides grants and fellowships, and presents awards of excellence. It helps members share inputs by organizing workshops and festivals round the world.

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