The 10th IAWRT Asian Women’s Film Festival begins this Wednesday

The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) is back with its annual Asian Women’s Film Festival. Over 60 works will be presented at the 10th edition of the festival, which begins this Wednesday.

The festival started under the IIC Asia Project and was conceived as a space for Asian women filmmakers to share their work. In keeping with its tradition of highlighting films from two countries, Sri Lanka and Taiwan have been chosen this year. Some of the films being screened from these countries are White Van Stories, a documentary on enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka; Ingirinthu, a feature film on the minority Tamil tea plantation community's struggle to survive; Nyona's Taste of Life, which narrates stories of Indonesian domestic helpers and Thai workers who come to Taiwan dreaming of a better life.

The festival also has a strong general programme which includes films from Lebanon, South Korea, Afghanistan and India. While And The Unclaimed by Debalina looks at the suicide of two young girls in Nandigram, and its aftermath, the Lebanese film Sleepless Nights by Elaine Raheb tells the stories of a former intelligence officer and the mother of a missing young communist, to ask if redemption and forgiveness are possible. Have You Seen the Arana by Sunanda Bhat takes viewers on a journey through Wayanad, whose ecological richness is being transformed in the name of development.

Apart from its characteristic mix of animations, shorts, features and documentaries, the festival this year is introducing Soundphiles, a segment that features sound art.

“We are an association of radio and television, and we often feel the radio part is not foregrounded so much. Last year we had a seminar on community radio, and this time we wanted to do something in the aural department. So some of us felt it would be a good idea to look at only sound,” says Anupama Srinivasan, festival director and documentary filmmaker, adding that a lot of interesting work is happening in the sphere of sound. The sound pieces present a variety of stimuli - snatches of personal experience, street life and from Bollywood, among others.

The festival concludes with a day-long seminar on March 8 at Max Mueller Bhavan. Titled “Hum gunehgaar auratein”, it explores the “power of art and social activism available to women artists and activists” in the increasingly repressive environment of South Asia.

(The festival will be held at the IIC from March 5-7, and at Max Mueller Bhavan on March 8. A number of screenings will also be organised at various colleges till March 31. The full schedule is available on http://www.iawrtindia.blogspot.in/)