Thursday, October 31, 2019


Veteran IAWRT Chapter India member, Dr Padmaja Shaw, has instituted a fellowship in IAWRT Chapter India henceforth titled the IAWRT-Shaw Memorial Fellowship in memory of her late husband Rajendra Shaw. Shaw was an alumni of India's eminent film school - the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) Pune (1975 batch) and a firm believer in affirmative action. 

The award has been instituted on October 26 - on Rajendra Shaw's birthday.

Rajendra Shaw worked his entire professional life in social sector organizations making communication materials, teaching and training people in visual and text documentation. He also mentored young people in photography,videography and video editing, in addition to writing in clear and simple language for text documentation.

"I wanted the scholarship in my late husband's memory to continue this in some way, by helping a Dalit girl student get formal training in film-making techniques through any available/willing institute (state-run, commercial or colleges run by mission schools to ensure that the student gets through and does come out with a portfolio that opens doors for meaningful work" Dr Padmaja observed.

Padmaja Shaw

Padmaja has donated INR 5 lakhs (USD 7142) to the IAWRT corpus . While the principal amount will remain untouched , the interest accrued every two years on this will be used towards a fellowship of an Scheduled Caste /Scheduled Tribe candidate studying media/communications/film. It will be in the form of an award so that for the student it becomes a matter of pride and accomplishment.

There will be an innovative selection process and a two-member committee with Padmaja and one other IAWRT member will select the person for the award bi-annually. The Board is finalising the selection of the institute through which the fellowship will be instituted.

Thursday, September 5, 2019


Dear Filmmaker,

The 16th IAWRT Asian Women's Film Festival will be held in New Delhi from 4-7 March 2020The India chapter of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television has been organizing a film festival to celebrate International Women’s Day since 2005. Our festival is an attempt to bring together the works of Asian women directors in a range of genres - animation, documentary, experimental, short fiction and television reportage. IAWRT in partnership with IIC holds the festival at the India International Centre, New Delhi every year. The 15th edition of the festival received a record 700 film entries from 37 countries. We screened 51 films and had a curated section titled Soundphiles that covered a range of sonic genres. Over the years the festival has attracted diverse audiences enabling vibrant discussions. Sections of the festival have traveled to various Indian cities and International festivals in the past years.

In the 16th edition of the festival, alongside the general program there will be curated sections focusing on women directors from countries within the Middle East, the works and journeys of women photographers and a section across genres curated around the theme of 'Her upside down gaze'. Some of the questions that this curated section seeks to address are: What are the myriad ways in which women filmmakers are re-imagining the craft of filmmaking? Does our experimentation with film form reflect shared concerns, connect similar strategies, define a distinct vision of both our subjects and ourselves?

We would like to welcome you to submit your film for the festival. Please note this is a Non-Competitive festival.  There is no entry fees but please read about some important instructions with regard to eligibility.

The 16th IAWRT Asian Women's Film Festival will be held in New Delhi from 4-7 March 2020. The India chapter of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television has been organizing a film festival to celebrate International Women’s Day since 2005. Our festival is an attempt to bring together the works of Asian women directors in a range of genres - animation, documentary, experimental, short fiction and television reportage. The festival is held every year at the India International Centre, New Delhi.

We would be grateful if you could circulate this Entry Form so that it reaches as many women filmmakers as possible.

We look forward to receiving your films.

Surabhi Sharma and Priya Thuvassery
Festival Director and Co-Director
16th IAWRT Asian Women's Film Festival, March 2020

For further enquiries write to us at

-All genres – short fiction/fiction feature, non-fiction, animation, experimental and student films – are welcome.
- The filmmaker has to be a woman/ transwoman of Asian origin, residing in any part of the world.
- If the film has more than one Director, at least one of them should be a woman.
- Films made between October 1, 2018- October 10, 2019 are eligible for entry. The last date for submission is October 20, 2019.

- Participants may send multiple entries, but separate forms are required for each entry.
- Films made in any language other than English are required to be subtitled in English, We will not view the films during pre-selection without this.
- All required permissions from copyright holders should be acquired before entering the work into the 16th IAWRT Asian Women’s film festival.
- All image formats and aspect ratios will be accepted. The sound requirement of our festival venue is that it be mono mixed on two channels.
- Films that are already available online, will not be considered for the festival.
- If a film is selected, the copyright holders of the film should permit free-of-cost public screening at the festival and at any related events.
- If a film is selected we require a high res mov file to be submitted to us no later than Jan 30th, 2020.
- Please specify if we have permission for your film to be a part of the traveling packages.

Preview & Screening
Please complete and submit this Entry Form by 10pm IST on 20th October, 2019.

We require you to submit three high res images from the film, and one high res photo of the Director.

The online link of the film with password and publicity material needs to be sent to: Please write the title of your film in the subject line.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

15th IAWRT Asian Women’s Film Festival - March 4-7, 2019

The 15th edition of the IAWRT Asian Women’s Festival was held in partnership with India International Centre (IIC)-New Delhi from 4th to 7th March, 2019.

IAWRT Round Table on #Me Too:

The 15th edition of the IAWRT Asian Women’s Film Festival began with a Round Table on #Me Too on March 4 at IIC Conference Hall 2. IAWRT Board member Mausumi Bhattacharyya welcomed everyone to the Round table conceptualised by Paromita Vohra and Nupur Basu and moderated by Nupur and Bina Paul (all three IAWRT board members). The Round Table was an attempt to take stock of the #Me Too campaign in the Indian media and film industry, examine the challenges posed and plan the road ahead. Around 50 women journalists, feminists, writers, activists, Internet specialists, academics, filmmakers, and spokespersons of UN Women, FES and Oxfam India and Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA) attended the riveting four - hour long brainstorming and addressed the nuances posed by this campaign. Participants had been invited from across India - Assam, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bundelkhand, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kohima, Mumbai, Pune, Shillong, Tejpur, Telengana, Thiruvananthapuram – so the experience shared was truly pan India.

Participants of the Roundtable on #Metoo
The Round Table was framed as a means for women in media but of varied identities, contexts and locations, mindful of those spaces whose #MeToo narratives have not been highlighted in the mainstream -the North-East, rural India, Dalit women and women trying to work with ICCs. It was a first step towards sharing of not just stories but perspectives, with an aim to sustaining an intersectional conversation about how to build on the issues 
Moderators: Bina Paul and Nupur Basu
thrown up by #MeToo, in terms of systems, structural change, and re-framing the values promoted through and within media platforms, in feminist terms. It was our hope that people would build new linkages and build on the conversations and relationships that might begin here.

Some of the issues examined at the Round table were: What are the feminist linkages, global to local that #MeToo suggests? What are the emotional undercurrents of #MeToo and how can they inform our politics and organizational practice? What works and isn’t working with the ICC? What has reporting on #MeToo revealed about underlying workplace structures and most importantly, the impunity that powerful men enjoy? What sort of chilling effect are criminal defamations having on survivors? 

The networking dinner after the Round table allowed the animated discussions to carry on informally. Clearly there was appetite for many such conversations in the coming weeks and months and follow up emails from participants highlighted the unique opportunity to experience solidarity across spaces and learn from each other; as well as how the conversation catalyzed new thinking that they would like to build on together through more such opportunities. We too felt, that an inter-generational, inter-disciplinary and intersectional conversation, which is not only framed in terms of immediate crisis and issue, but rather reflecting on changes needed - is a missing link in the discourse which the Round Table succeeded in providing. We hope to be able to strengthen this initiative in the coming days.
The 15th Asian Women’s Film Festival opened from 9.15 am on March 5 at the C D Deshmukh auditorium at the India International Centre (IIC). The excitement was palpable as audiences started pouring in from those early hours. Our first guest at the screening was His Excellency Mr Chung-Kwang Tien, Ambassador of Taiwan. He viewed the film entry from his home country - Taiwan – (Dir: Yu Yu / Daisy) and other films in the morning segment.

Festival Director, Gauri Chakraborty and Managing Trustee,
Nupur Basu presenting a token of appreciation to H.E Amb of Taiwan

Over the next three days the audiences would get to view 51 films from 20 countries – all directed by Asian women directors with the festival theme “Female Gaze”. 
These included:
· films chosen under general category selected from entries from women filmmakers of Asian origin from across the world 
· films selected as part of curated packages 

The selection committee for the general programming were IAWRT India members Iffat Fatima, Jerro Mulla and Anandana Kapur along with the Festival Director, Gauri D Chakraborty.

Apart from general programming, the curated themes for the 15th Edition were:

a) Female Gaze by Bina Paul,
b) Childhood by Samina Mishra,
c) Seven Sisters (narratives from Northeast of India) by Supriya Suri, 
d) A Country focus on Georgia curated by Smriti Nevatia.
e) A special segment on Soundphiles curated by Shikha Jhingan 

The country focus for this edition was chosen after due deliberation on the distinct body of work being created by women filmmakers from the Georgian region and whose narratives were gaining attention all over the world in recent years. Georgia as part of the Euro-Asia also shares a lot of cultural sensitivities in terms of space, time, issues and gender discourse and hence the resonance in India was evident.

The festival invited both national and international filmmakers whose films had been selected to participate in the three-day festival. The filmmakers from India who attended were: 

· Asiya Zahoor, (The Stitch) 
· Surbhi Dewan (Daughter of Nepal) 
· Rishaya Palkiwala, (Roshan and Mani) 
· Roopa Barua, (Daughters of the Polo God) 
· Tribeny Rai, (Chori)
· Asawari Jagusthe (The Housemaids) 
· Divya Unny (Her First Time) 
· Yapangnaro Longkumar (The River Story) 
· Chandita Mukherjee, Archana Kapoor & Afrah Shafiq (Displacement and Resilience) 

Four international filmmakers participated in the festival: 

· Mari Gulbiani (Before Father gets back/Georgia)
· Rusudan Pirveli (Susa/Georgia) 
· Fatima Shahnaz (Hope/Sri Lanka) 
· Iris Ben Moshe (Broken Pipe/Israel) 

Screenings were followed by conversations with the filmmakers in person. IAWRT member Reena Mohan seamlessly planned the filmmaker conversations with other IAWRTians - Padmaja Shaw, Jeroo Mulla, Sania Farooqui, Iffat Fatima, Radhika Khanna, Teena Gill, Fowzia Fatima, Aparna Sanyal, Subasri Krishnan, Smriti Nevatia, Samina Mishra, Shikha Jhingan, Bina Paul and others who moderated different segments of filmmaker Q&As and engaged in lively audience interactions.

The film categories included fiction, non-fiction animation, experimental and student films. The films were bunched in thematic segments.

Day 1: Boundaries, Absence, Re-imagining Red, Inversion and Sisterhood. 
Day 2: Encoded, Uprooted, Twilight 
Day 3: Silence, Enquiry & Framed. 

While Boundaries featured films, which discussed the politics of representation and conflict, Re-imagining Red, as its title indicated, looked at different interpretations ranging from war and loss to transgender and identity. 

Inclusion of student films along with the work of well-established directors was a key element in the festival. The purpose was to acknowledge the credible work increasingly emerging from younger filmmakers. 

The line up on day one was diverse and featured some award winning films like Peace Carpet (Iran), Mamushka (Israel) and Perhaps Today (Lebanon). 

Surbhi Dewan, (Dir: Daughter of Nepal), a young filmmaker from India engaged in a stimulating post film discussion on the content of disappearance and political identity. Asiya Zahoor (Dir: The Stitch) looked at conflict ridden Kashmir through the eyes of a nine year old girl. Roshan and Mani, a charming student film, story about two Parsi sisters directed by Rishaya Palkiwala was followed by ‘Daughters of the Polo God’ from Manipur directed by Roopa Barua. The highlight of this screening was the presence of women polo players from the state. His Excellency Ambassador of Argentina, David Chiburu was also present at the screening.

Roopa Barua in conversation with Jeroo Mulla

The much-awaited opening ceremony of the festival was held on March 5 evening in the presence of partner institutions and IAWRT members. Festival Director, Gauri Chakraborty shared an insight into the specific highlights and the collaborative nature of this long-standing event that had reached its landmark 15th edition. She highlighted the work by the Festival team to bring the best works of the Asian women film directors from across the world on a single platform.

Nupur Basu, Managing Trustee, IAWRT, chapter India, underlined the vision and commitment of the network of women members of IAWRT both globally and in India in highlighting the work of women in TV, radio, film and media research. She talked about the legacy left behind by the founding member from India, the late Jai Chandiram. Jai had kickstarted the festival 15 years back with Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, Chairperson, IIC-International Research Division, India International Centre. IAWRT felicitated Dr Vatsyayan at the opening ceremony. Nupur also acknowledged the support of partner institutions and the significance of IAWRT in finding synergy with like-minded organisations committed to working for gender equity for women in cinema and media.

Shri N N Vohra, Chairperson, India International Centre (IIC) was invited on stage to light the ceremonial lamp along with Jashodhara Dasgupta, Executive Director, National Foundation of India (NFI), Amitabh Behar, CEO, Oxfam India and Farah Batool, Programme Coordinator, Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan. Other partners like Tech Mahindra, UN Women, Jamia Cooperative Bank and Fredrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) sent their good wishes for the festival.

FD, Gauri Chakraborty and MT, Nupur Basu 
Guests at opening ceremony

Shri N N Vohra, in his address, praised both the efforts of IAWRT for the past 15 years in conducting the Asian women’s film festival and the value generated in both program and content at these festivals. Shri Vohra congratulated IAWRT for curating the Little Directors Workshop and exposing young girl students from poor backgrounds to such creative activity. He was also seen enjoying the Bioscopewalli installation in the foyer and asking questions regarding it.
Shri N N Vohra, addressing the
gathering at the opening ceremony
Aparna Sanyal, IAWRT Secretary initiated the conversation with the festival partners and Jashodhara Dasgupta, Amitabh Behar and Farah Batool spoke about the need to support these spaces that IAWRT has created so these conversations on gender could be held around the film festival. Deepika Sharma, IAWRT treasurer welcomed the visiting filmmakers and IAWRT members onto stage for the much awaited group photo taken every edition!

Invited filmmakers with IAWRT India members
The highlight after the formal opening ceremony was the opening film - a documentary from Georgia, Before Father Gets Back, directed by filmmaker Mari Gulbiani. The evocative film explores the lives of two young Muslim girls Imam and Eva, growing up in the rising shadow of Islamic radicalism in the Pankisi valley of Georgia. The film was followed by an interaction between curator of the Georgia segment, Smriti Nevatia and Mari Gulbiani. The engaging discussion with the audience was about the fate of the film's protagonists, the challenges of shooting the documentary, the gains made by Georgian women filmmakers in world cinema and the politics of representation.
Curator of Georgian segment, Smriti Nevatia in conversation with Mari Gulbiani 

Day two began with Autodriver, a film from the North East and was followed by other films in the segment Encoded. Filmmakers Tribeny Rai from Sikkim and Fathima Shanaz from Sri Lanka interacted with audiences on the specific content of both their films and their individual experiences in filming them.

Tribeny Rai from Sikkim and Fathima Shanaz from Srilanka

The much awaited IAWRT long documentary 2019 production “Displacement and Resilience” produced by Chandita Mukherjee was premiered at the festival. Chandita was joined by contributing directors from India, Archana Kapoor and Afrah Shafiq for interaction after the screening.

Chandita Mukherjee with Afrah Shafiq and Archana Kapoor

The films of Asawari Jagusthe, Yapangnaro Longkumer and Iris Ben Moshe were also much appreciated and followed by animated discussions with the filmmakers and IAWRT moderators – Iffat Fatima, Aparna Sanyal and Sania Farooqui.

                                  Iffat in conversation with Asawari, Aparna and Naro Longkumar and Iris with Sania 
A panel discussion on the Female Gaze was held after the screening of the film from Bangladesh– Under Construction by Rubaiyat Hossain, a powerful film about an urbane theatre actress in Bangladesh trying to find her identity not as a traditional wife and mother but through political theatre. The film had been curated under the segment – Female Gaze by Bina Paul and the discussion that followed was moderated by Bina. The panelists included - Jeroo Mulla, Anandana Kapur and Gauri Chakraborty. The discussion engaged with the interpretation of the female gaze and significance of a forum like AWFF, which celebrates the work of women filmmakers. There were lively interactions from the floor about challenges women filmmakers face in their role as directors or producers. Bina Paul talked about the recent challenges and breakthroughs made by the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) in Kerala. The WCC had become a rallying point for other women filmmakers in the country.

The festival received an overwhelming response. Most of the screenings were attended by cinephiles, media students, media professionals, academicians, feminists, researchers, IIC members and representatives from various organizations. The major highlights continued to be the active participation of the audience in post film discussions.


Glimpses of Audience participation

Day three featured a unique morning segment, Soundphiles, which has become a kind of a flagship IAWRT programming - the technical and creative aspects of silence and sound. The curator of the segment Shikha Jhingan and co-directors of one Soundphile segment, Srijaa Kundu and Shrinjita Biswas were present to share their views and perspective with a curious and engaged audience.

Shikha Jhingan in conversation with Srijaa Kundu and Shrinjita Biswas

The second segment of the day was dominated by the narratives on children and the world through their eyes. Ziazan from Turkey was one such film that explored borders as construed by a child in her own circumstances. Director Divya Unny’s Her First Time based on breaking the silence on menstruation was also part of this segment. Divya took part in an engaging post screening conversation with Sania Farooqui on how films can break social taboos.

Sania Farooqui in conversation with Divya  Unny

Chuskit, an award winning film directed by Priya Ramasubban, about a paraplegic girl in Ladakh whose dream is to go to school one day, was another highlight of the Childhood curation. The Childhood package had a fitting finale with a discussion between Samina Mishra and Subasri Krishnan.

Subasri Krishnan in conversation with Samina Mishra

The closing film of the festival was the very evocative Susa from Georgia. Director Rusudan Pirveli and curator Smriti zeroed in on the impactful narrative once again around a child protagonist. The children centric films had prompted discussions ranged from casting child actors, psychological make-up of child characters to low- budget filmmaking.

Rusudan Pirveli and Smriti Nevatia

Bioscopewaali, the female storyteller

An art installation titled Bioscopewali was put up by Festival Director, Gauri Chakraborty. This included a life size bioscope titled Indi-e-gaze created with the support of students from Amity School of Communication, Noida and a creative art installation by design students. Indi-e-gaze, as an installation explored both the ‘act of seeing’ as in the optical toy or later cinema with the new addition of ‘peeping into’ gendered texts. The bioscope as a symbolic apparatus of a bygone era, took the viewer back to a pre-cinema experience while the content being watched was that of the female storyteller, whom we referred to as The Bioscopewaali.

Audiences experiencing Indi-e gaze as part of Bioscopewaali

‘Indi-e-gaze’ was appreciated by all who visited the festival. As an innovative concept to re-interpret the act of seeing, the hallmark of cinematic text, the installation was effective in generating dialogue on the cinematic image and significance of content. The videos being played at this installation were provided by Jagori, UN Women & Oxfam.

Little Directors’ workshop

An innovative two-day workshop titled ‘Little Directors’ was a very significant programme at the festival. The objective of holding the workshop within the festival ambit was to create a visible change in the domain of gender and identity. Forty girls from under-privileged backgrounds between the age group of 12-14 years were invited to undergo a two-day training on filmmaking. The resource persons for the workshop were IAWRT India members, Nina Sabnani and Samina Mishra. The girl students were given a theme of Freedom (Aazadi) around which they had to frame their stories for direction. The girls were taken through an interactive session on self-expression, as well as a simple way of story telling by their two guides. They were exposed to various images to spark their imagination.


Sameer Ashraf, professional photographer briefed the girls about the technicalities of camera, which helped them to visualize their content better. The little directors were then asked to imagine freely and create their own short film. A young volunteer supported each group. The workshop culminated with the screening of around 8-10 short one-minute films made by the little directors. Each participant received a certificate at the end of the workshop.

The girl students had come from the following six institutions: (the descriptions below of the activities are those given by the organizations)
1.Sahpathi -a nonprofit education intervention, aimed at providing ongoing academic and extra-curricular support to children from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
2. Aseem Asha Foundation -a civil society organization engaged in teaching and promoting innovative uses of print and social media to aid deprived communities and accelerate social development.
3.Voice of Slum - a Non-Governmental Organisation run by two Slum-dwellers themselves - Chandni and Dev Pratap Singh. It focuses on bringing children living in slums into mainstream society.
4. Sarvahitey Foundation- a non-profit education mediation, keeping in view the fact that a majority of Indian population is devoid of basic needs, and basic infrastructure to self-realize those needs.
5. Teach For India- exists precisely to fill the deficit of leadership in education and provide free minds a platform to showcase their talents.
6. P.S. Govt. School- The Government School works to provide the underprivileged children with the best platforms to uplift themselves.

Our grateful thanks to:

The 15th IAWRT Asian Women’s Film Festival would not have been possible without the support of our valued partner of 15 years - the India International Centre (IIC), New Delhi.

Our other valued principal partners for this edition of the festival were: National Foundation of India (NFI), Oxfam India, Tech Mahindra Foundation, Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, Fredrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) (FES), Jamia Cooperative Bank Ltd,UN Women and IAWRT International.

Other support partners were: Georgian National Film Fund (GNFC) who sponsored the air travel of two Georgian filmmakers, the Israel embassy supported the air ticket for travel of one filmmaker from Israel,

Cinestaan and Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) for helping with media publicity, Change Designers and Kaunsiurge for coming on as gifting partners, Picture Time for providing the film tent for Bioscopewaali, Samir Ashraf, trainer at Sony India for providing cameras and Amity University for volunteers and technical support for Little Directors and Bioscopewaali.

The festival was widely covered in the media.  
1. Mint Lounge, feature called Source
2. Links to all the festival articles that were done by Cinestaan.
23. (Official website: Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre in India)