On Tuesday March 8 many around the world will be celebrating International Women’s Day. New Delhi also joins in with the seventh edition of the annual Asian Women’s Film Festival. The festival, organized by the Indian unit of a non-governmental organization which works with women and media, officially starts in the city’s India International Center on Saturday, when screenings by documentary filmmakers from countries including Pakistan, India, Canada and the Philippines will take place.
The festival will showcase around 50 documentary films made by women. While filmmakers must be women of Asian origin, their work can be from anywhere in the world, according to the festival’s eligibility guidelines. After taking a break on Sunday, the festival resumes on Monday and lasts until Tuesday. Organizers set out to make women’s views an integral part of the festival’s program. The NGO behind the event, the International Association of Women in Radio and Television, focuses on training women in electronic media, among other things.
The theme of this year’s film festival, “Ways of Seeing: Rhetoric and Reality,” explores how women express themselves. “This was a way for women to showcase their work and make you sit up and look at how women are looking at issues. While not necessarily feminist, there is a difference in the sensibilities that woman filmmakers are beginning to bring,” said Jai Chandiram, the festival’s director. She lamented how “history has not recorded the participation of women” and that more attention should be given to how global and local issues affect women.