For Womenís Sake

Based on gender violence, Our Lives...To Live film festival encourages stories of women from around the world.

In September, when renowned feminist Kamla Bhasin first approached Smriti Nevatia to curate a film festival woven around the subject of gender violence, the scriptwriter and curator was unsure if she could pull it off in a short span of time. "A festival like this takes upto six months to be put together but I had just two months on hand," she talks of the festival, aptly called Our Lives...To Live (NO! to gender violence)!.

Slated to take place at the city's Films Division's RR Theatre from December 7 to 9, the festival will showcase 42 films (including Indian and international films, videos and documentaries) drawn from a pool of 94 films that revolve around themes such as violence against girls and young women; women and public spaces; taboos and restrictions; women in conflict zones; and the gendered impact of neo-liberal globalisation. The festival has had successful runs in Delhi, Bangalore and Thiruvananthapuram so far. It will now travel to Pune, Kolkata and Gwalior.

Nevatia stresses that the idea is not to preach but to encourage discussion on how stories from across the world are relevant to us. "For instance, Sarabah is about a hip hop singer who travels back to her village in Senegal in order to educate people against the traditional practice of female genital mutilation," she says.

On the other hand, the closing film at the festival, Facing Mirrors, is an Iranian film about a woman who drives a taxi to support herself as her husband is in prison. "It's a story of prejudice, friendship and redemption," says Nevatia.

This festival is also part of the One Billion Rising (OBR) campaign (founded by Eve Ensler of The Vagina Monologues fame) and coincides with the start of the annual 16-day international campaign against gender violence. In Mumbai, it has partnered with the NGO Akshara. Some of the films being shown have been sourced from organisations such as Women Make Movies.

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