Asian film festival celebrates women's vision of the world
The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) - India Chapter and the India International Centre (IIC) - Asia Project organized, in collaboration with UNESCO, an Asian Women's Film Festival from 7 to 8 March 2008 in New Delhi, India.
Themed 'Insights and Aspirations', the festival featured 25 short and full-length films from Australia, Japan, Pakistan, India and the United States. Apart from documentary films, the event that started on the eve of International Women's Day also offered fiction and animation short-films. Panel discussions were held on how women filmmakers are widening the frame for issues concerning women.
The opening ceremony was followed by a UNESCO message inviting media to encourage larger participation of women in the field. Then two short films - Everyday by Anupama Srinivasan and Manpasand by Dhwani Desai - were screened.
"In Everyday I have tried to look out of the window and showcase a human relationship in today's time via a pigeon couple," said Srinivasan. In the film, two pigeons are shown sitting on an electricity wire with all sorts of noises - traffic, TV, people talking - as the background score. Towards the end, one pigeon flies away, leaving the other one alone.
"I have used a dying folk art form Sanjhi to make an animation film Manpasand," said Desai. "The story is borrowed from the tales of Panchatantra. The film attempts to preserve the art form and showcase that every creature made by god has its own significance and is not inferior to anyone. Also, one is mostly attracted to his own type of creature," she added.
In the animation film, a grandmother is featured urging her granddaughter to make Sanjhi to get a bridegroom of her choice. Through the little girl's canvas, the director narrates the story of a mouse, which is turned into a beautiful girl by a saint. The saint brings her up like his own daughter and asks her to choose among the king, sun, rain, wind or the mountain god, as her life partner. But she zeroes in on a mouse and marries him.
According to Jai Chandiram, managing trustee of IAWRT, the event aimed at sparking debates on creative processes and concerns. "The initiative is meant to celebrate the vision women filmmakers negotiate, resist or document on political, social, cultural, environmental, educational or economic issues," she said.
Chandiram also pointed out that women have proved over the years that their hold on the medium of cinema is as good as that of men. Movies made by women filmmakers have a sensitivity that immediately strikes an emotional chord.