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Friday July 19, 2024

Int’l film festival opens with spotlight on women

By Jamila Achakzai
March 11, 2023

Islamabad : The two-day Women International Film Festival (WIFF) began here on Friday with the Alliance Française d’ Islamabad hosting the opening ceremony, which featured the screening of five episodes of the animated French series, Culottées.

The public screenings are slated for today (Saturday) and tomorrow (Sunday) at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts with the support of the French and German embassies and the partnership of FM89 radio station.

The event was opened by the festival’s founder and curator, Madeeha Raza, who spoke about the seven-year journey of the platform successfully showcasing films made by women from across the world.

German Ambassador Alfred Grannas stressed the need for strong female voices in the film industry.

He said his embassy was proud to be supporting the festival considering it to be a wonderful initiative to celebrate and empower female voices in cinema.

According to organisers, the event will showcase 18 short films received from Argentina, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Turkey, the UK, and the US besides Pakistan.

The Pakistani films included ‘My Mother’s Daughter’ by Ahmen Khawaja & Mariam Khan; ‘Baira Gharakh’ by Mehreen Jabbar and ‘Awaaz’ by Halimah Tariq. However, ‘My Mother’s Daughter’ won't be screened for being censored by the Central Board of Film Censors.

A jury panel comprising esteemed filmmakers from diverse backgrounds will decide about the Best Film Award.

The film screenings will end with a discussion on “Mobilising support for filmmakers” with local film producers and directors like Hamza Gurmani, Halimah Tariq, and Marya Javed being the panellists. They will discuss how to garner support for emerging local filmmakers, especially to address funding and other production challenges.

The festival will travel to Karachi and Lahore afterward with the Goethe-Institut hosting it in the capital of Sindh province on March 16 and the ‘Aangun’ – Centre for Learning and Culture in the capital of Punjab province on the 18th.

The organisers said over the years, the WIFF had aimed to fill the gender gap in film, besides widening appreciation for independent cinema by creating a platform for diverse storytellers from all over the world.

According to them, the overarching aim of the event is to promote female filmmakers by building and uniting the next wave of talent and connecting the film community. It is evident that we need more such opportunities for women so they can take their stories to the screen and share them with the community.

The Women Through Film, the curating entity for WIFF, is a Pakistan-based initiative trying to encourage and facilitate young girls and women to use self-expression, storytelling, and fiction through filmmaking.