Saturday, October 10, 2020

Indu Ramesh, a Tribute


Indu Ramesh, a Tribute

1937- 2020

By Smita Ramanathan

The veteran media woman Indu Ramesh, who passed away on 26th August 2020 was a dear friend and mentor who introduced me to the world of media. She had an interest in the world of media right from her childhood days. Her first story was published in a Kannada magazine when she was only fifteen years old. After graduation, she wanted to be a journalist. She even approached a newspaper office in Bangalore, however, she did not get a job as a journalist. She got married and moved to Delhi in the early 1960s. After brief stints as a receptionist and a telephone operator, she cleared a written test and an interview to be appointed as transmission executive in All India Radio. Starting out in the external services division of All India Radio, she went on to become the Station Director of the Commercial Broadcasting Station, Bangalore (Vividh Bharati), at the time of retirement. Under her directorship, CBS Bangalore got the best station award twice in a row.

Radio was her passion. She was very fond of recounting her varied experiences in radio. As a transmission executive her roles included assigning announcers to the right studio, making sure they had the broadcast material, making artists comfortable, making sure announcers were in time for the broadcasts and – during night broadcasts – ensuring they did not fall asleep at the mike, letting the tape end and silence come on air! She enjoyed these tasks as they provided her a learning opportunity. Eventually, she learned to make announcements in the studio herself, thanks to announcers who did not show up in time – the show just had to go on!

She would often recall several memorable events from her days in Delhi AIR. Siddheshwari Devi, who used to bring her little paan box with her when she came for recordings and give all the staff some paan. Rahul Bajaj, whom she presented with a cheque of Rs. 100 after he was interviewed for a show. It was not only the celebrities that she remembered with relish. She spoke with equal joy about the farmer who came into the AIR office with a gift basket of tomatoes in gratitude for the farm advice programmes that had been broadcast on radio. Or the tonga-wallah Pushtu singer who used to come to the studio in his tonga, record his song, collect his payment and ride back in his tonga. In 2019, in an interview she gave to independent filmmaker and theatre person Ranjan Kamath, she talked about her life and work. This can be viewed here on the Youtube channel ‘Mitra Tantra Archive of Personal Narratives’. 

Her interest in the medium made her rise to a leadership position in the organisation. In the early days of radio, when women’s roles were limited to the music, women’s and children’s section, she insisted on handling programmes on politics and newsgathering. Her perseverance paid off and she was soon to gain roles that were hitherto reserved for men – newsgathering and administration. Colleagues at AIR, Bangalore recall her bold and quick decision-making. She was always on the lookout for innovative programming and encouraged her juniors who wanted to try out new ideas. After her death tributes poured in on her facebook page. A younger AIR colleague Anand Patil recollects how in the restrictive atmosphere so common to government organisations, Indu Ramesh provided a whiff of freedom for her staff. Child Rights Activist Vasudev Sharma recalls how she enlisted his support to conduct Yuva Vani programmes (Youth Programme) and encouraged him to do it differently from the way it had been done before on radio – live interviews with youth achievers, quiz programmes for rural youth. For this she sent him to rural Karnataka to record the programmes. She also sent him out to record interviews with rural communities on problems being faced by them. She was always keen to get on the air, voices of the community. It was this interest and the passion for the medium that led her to community radio. After retirement, she got closely involved with the community radio movement. She would often recall with fondness her association with Sucharita Easwar, who introduced her to community radio. This led to her association with Frieda Werden and she became a producer for WINGS (Women’s International News Gathering Services). Programmes she produced for WINGS include a feature on women Gram Panchayat Members, one on the Devadasi Women of Karnataka and their successful struggle for rehabilitation, a feature on the forest women of Karnataka (for which she received a special mention at the IAWRT conference, 2012), and on women seed savers. She served as a mentor and adviser to organisations and individuals that set up CR stations in Karnataka. These include Sarathi Jhalak in Hosakote Bangalore, Namma Dhwani run by the NGO MYRADA in Kolar district and Ramana Dhwani run by the Ramana Maharishi Academy for the Blind in Bangalore.

I learned radio from Indu. I started by accompanying her to the field locations where she was recording for WINGS. I watched her in action – recording the programmes, making sure people spoke one at a time, finding voices to translate the Kannada narration into English. She would then review the recordings, write the script and record the commentary. I used to assist her in reviewing the recordings and script. Later she made me do the recordings and write the script myself. She provided practical advice – to record at least 60  minutes of voice for a 30  minute feature, record any music if possible, speak clearly and slowly while recording, instruct participants to do the same, that a script for a 30 minute feature will have between 3000-4000 words. Later I became a regular contributor to WINGS along with my colleague Manju Venkat. We always ran the script by her. She would have valuable inputs to enhance the quality of the script and therefore the show. I feel quite proud to say that I was coached by the best in the business.

I am grateful to her for her friendship and guidance. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

Kapila ji and IAWRT India: Aradhana Kohli Kapur Remembers

Dr Kapila Vatsyayan

Dec 25, 1928 - Sep 16, 2020

Kapila ji and IAWRT India: Aradhana Kohli Kapur Remembers

IAWRT India has, since its inception, been closely associated with Dr.Kapila Vatsyayan, perhaps an offshoot of her relationship with the late Jai Chandiram, our founder. In fact the much awaited and acclaimed annual Asian Women’s Film Festival held at the India International Centre began as a part of the Asia Project headed by Dr.Vatsyayan to bring to the fore voices of women from across borders in Asia. In 2005 as she spearheaded the Asia Project in its second phase she asked Jai Chandiram to organize a festival of documentary films, long and short, made by Asian women, as she firmly believed a concentrated effort was required to provide an inclusive space for women to express their creativity across different mediums. Films to her were a very important and effective means to do so.

Each year she would advise, guide and inaugurate the festival as a firm but involved matriarch. Her first question was always: So what are you going to do this year? She had a great eye for the new, the unique. Films from smaller nations in Asia, from marginalized, minority communities, were of special interest as were audio installations. For her all art was sacred be it sculpture, embroidery, photography, painting et al.

The high standards of professionalism and aesthetics that she set by example will always be our guiding principles at IAWRT India. Every year, she would quietly walk in a little before time for the Inauguration ceremony without fuss inspect the stage the flower decoration and always, as a mark of respect, she would take her footwear off before climbing the stage. On March 5, 2020, like every year, she attended our opening ceremony, lit the lamp and spoke about her late friend Jai and her vision for IAWRT.  Sadly, this would probably be her last public event as the COVID pandemic broke soon after.

Even as the entire cultural world feels the loss at her passing,  we at IAWRT India do so just that much more for we have truly lost one of our ‘founding mothers’. She would have smiled at that phrase ‘founding mothers’ because she, above all, epitomised the feminine as the source - the beej of all creativity.

Kapila ji with IAWRT members and filmmakers at IAWRT 2020 Film Festival, IIC. 

Thursday, June 4, 2020

16th IAWRT ASIAN WOMEN’S FESTIVAL – celebrating women in cinema By Surabhi Sharma, Festival Director & Priya Thuvassery, Co–Director

Fifty-two films directed by Asian women filmmakers representing 15 countries were showcased at the 16th edition of the IAWRT Asian Women's Festival held in partnership with India International Centre (IIC)-New Delhi from 4 - 7 March, 2020.

March 4 – Workshop – We make Cinema
The festival kicked off with a robust day-long workshop titled – We Make Cinema. The workshop provided an open space to discuss and deepen the understanding of the myriad paths women take to make the films they want. Many of the films being made by women offer a glimpse of lives and histories that remain unrecorded or under-represented. This prompted the design of the workshop which was divided into two sessions.

Session 1: We Archive Stories

While making films are we archiving histories, lives, labour or art? How can we seek stories hidden in archival material? Ideas around the archives that filmmakers create and unearth were presented by filmmakers, academics, an archivist and an arts research foundation director. Their presentations prompted a rich and engaged discussion around ethics and erasures in the practice of filmmaking and building visual archives. 

This session was moderated by Navaneetha Mokkil, academic and women’s Studies Scholar and writer. She connected the ideas and insights presented by Sameera Jain, filmmaker and film Practice teacher, with the presentations on the theme of archiving hidden histories put forward by Ozge Calafoto, Photography Archivist, Arundhati Ghosh, director of India Foundation for the Arts and Nina Sabnani, animation filmmaker, illustrator, researcher and academic.

Session 2: We Produce Films

What are the myriad opportunities, strategies and struggles that women filmmakers negotiate while shaping their films? How do we produce films? This session began with three filmmakers presenting their works in progress. Two documentary projects and one fiction feature at the scripting stage were presented by Farha Khatun, Subasri Krishnan and Prachee Bajania.  This prompted robust feedback and discussion amongst the participating film producers, festival curators, representatives of an arts funding organization, camera equipment manufacturers, women collectives working in film and individual filmmakers. Participants of the round table discussion put forward their experiences as producers, festival curators, funders and filmmakers. Both their experiences as being women and their experiences of the networks and industries they worked within. Members of the Women in Cinema Collective and Indian Women Cinematographers’ collective spoke from a slightly different perspective and spoke about the need to self- represent as a women’s collective and not just as individuals fighting for space and visibility.

For the three filmmakers who had presented their work, this became an excellent space to discuss not only their own work but to engage with different stakeholders who could possibly support different stages of their filmmaking. Shilpi Gulati, Filmmaker and PhD scholar on Independent film funding was able to bring together the many strands of discussions into a comprehensive frame within which to understand independent filmmaking and its challenges.

Participants of the round table discussion: 
Farha Khatun, Filmmaker
Prachee Bajania, Filmmaker
Subasri Krishnan, Filmmaker
Aditi Anand –Producer, Red Cart Films
Miriam Joseph- Independent Producer
Priyanka – Producer, Holy Rights Films
Deepti Gupta- Filmmaker and co-founder of IWCC**
Shilpi Gulati- filmmaker and researcher on film funding
Gaurav Markan and colleague, Canon India
Arundhati Ghosh, Arts and Culture Funding Practice
Deepti Dcunha- Festival Curator, Film Bazaar
Ozge Calafoto, Phd Scholar, Photography Archivist, Festival Curator
Miriam Chandy- Filmmaker, Independent Producer
We got very positive feedback on the workshop with the suggestion that the session of filmmakers sharing their work in progress become a regular feature at the festival.
The workshop was curated by IAWRT members Bina Paul, Aparna Sanyal, Surabhi Sharma and Priya Thuvassery.

March 5 – IAWRT Asian Women’s film festival begins.

Screening of films began at the C D Deshmukh auditorium at the India International Centre (IIC) from the morning of March 5. Day one showcased films by women directors from different countries. Most screenings ended with a Q and A with the filmmaker in attendance and good discussions with the audience. The apprehensions regarding participation in the festival due to the communal violence in certain parts of the city the previous week were thankfully dispelled as the auditorium began filling up as the day progressed. Many audience members and participating filmmakers shared with us how healing it felt to be in a collective space with positive and creative energy.

The much-awaited opening ceremony of the festival started with a four-minute delightful film from Iran – Granddad was a Romantic by Maryam Mohajer, setting the perfect mood for the evening. This was followed by the formal inauguration in the presence of partner institutions, attending filmmakers and a large number of IAWRT members. 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. Festival Director, Surabhi Sharma and Co-director Priya Thuvassery shared glimpses of the specific highlights of the current edition of the festival. The chief guests for the evening were IIC director K. N. Shrivastava, Sandeep Marwah, founder of Marwah Studios and Dr.Kapila Vatsyayan, Chairperson, IIC-International Research Division, IIC. They lit the ceremonial lamp and officially opened the festival with encouraging words about IAWRT’s activities and the festival into its 16th edition.

At the inauguration, the IAWRT - Shaw fellowship was formally instituted by IAWRT member, Padmaja Shaw, in the memory of her late husband Rajendra Shaw, a filmmaker who had devoted his life to socially conscious media interventions The bi-annual fellowship will fund a scholarship to a Dalit student studying media or film.

Suresh Chandiram, the brother of late Jai Chandiram, Founder of IAWRT, Chapter India, was presented with a book –“The Dotted Lines- Bhuri Bai- the Bhil artist” by Debjani Mukherjee, a previous recipient of the Jai Chandiram Memorial Fellowship (JCFM).

The group photo on stage with all the participating filmmakers and IAWRT members has become a cherished, mandatory event with its celebration of women in cinema and media. This year was no exception!

IAWRT office bearers Aparna Sanyal, Secretary and Deepika Sharma, Treasurer welcomed the guests and filmmakers on stage and gave the vote of thanks.

A heavy downpour that evening had us worried about attendance but the opening film Shut up Sona by Deepti Gupta saw a packed auditorium. Filmmaker Gupta and her protagonist, singer Sona Mohapatra, were present. The screening was followed by an animated conversation with Gupta and Mohapatra moderated by IAWRT board member and filmmaker, Samina Mishra. The evening closed with Sona Mohapatra treating the audience by singing some of her popular songs.

This was followed by the opening dinner- although this had to be moved a the last moment from lovely IIC Rose Garden to an indoor hall due to the heavy rain - it did not dampen the invitees and IAWRT members who came in large numbers and enjoyed the networking dinner.

We received over 700 entries and the number of excellent films we could not include in the festival almost equalled the number of films we did select. That indicates the quality of entries and gives a sense of the exciting films that women are making. We were proud to screen not only films which have already been recognised at prestigious international film festivals but also ones which had their World premieres at our event. The selection committee included film scholars and practitioners - Deepti Khurana, Kavita Carneiro, Navaneetha Mokkil along with the festival directors. Screenings were followed by question and answer sessions moderated by the selection committee. Animations, short fiction, feature and documentary films screened at the festival. 

We saw some key themes emerge at the festival giving a good sense of the themes that women filmmakers are working with. A dominant theme was the coming of age stories with female protagonists. Set in different cultural contexts, these films were evocative of both the anxieties faced and possibilities explored by young women. Women filmmakers looking at environmental concerns brought a significantly different perspective even within the developmental debates informing our understanding of the climate crisis. Films like Jaadui Jungle, Mod Bhang, If She Built a Country, Kere Mattu Kere were some of the films that provoked rich conversations around ways of thinking through the environmental crisis. 

Another theme that emerged in some of the Indian films was on the issue of the erasure and marginalization of communities in the current political context.  Iq Rah, Noor Islam, Makhfi, Memories of Saira and Salim were curated into one session and together the films evoked a deep and nuanced narrative. All four films were student film that engaged with the form to tell stories that are not easy to tell in a literal and investigative manner. The Turkish film, Amina and the Chinese-UAE film Vicky, I and Herself presented a view of women migrant workers and issues around identity and visible/invisible labour.  The Iranian film, Portrait of Ms.F and the Indian film, Holy Rights spoke about two very different contexts in which women asserted their rights within an Islamic state and within families governed Islamic law. Mother of Fire and Honey, Rain and Dust were two films from the UAE that challenged the outsider’s stereotype of Emirati life.

There were a range of genres- Feature-length documentaries, short fiction, animation films, hybrid genres that blurred fiction and documentary and self-reflexive films. The discussions and conversations that followed the films created an engaged and exciting space that IAWRT Chapter India has been able to create year after year at the India International Centre, New Delhi through this festival.

The festival had a curated session Her Upside Down Gaze by multi/new media artist Afrah Shafiq. This section included five hybrid films set in India that leak across film genres, mixing the conventions of documentary, narrative, fiction and poetry. These films that stretch and jostle the genres that tend to box film practice. This is a selection of Asian filmmakers who are not merely experimenting but are shifting and shaping a distinct film language.

This editions country focus was UAE curated by filmmakers Subasri Krishnan and Surabhi Sharma. Three films in this package bought with them a cast of unexpected characters from the UAE. Audacious and hilarious, immersive and meditative, intimate yet distant- all three films allowed for a dense engagement with women filmmakers from the UAE. They offered multiple lenses for the audience to get a glimpse of lives in the UAE that go beyond the stereotype that the rest of the world have about this region. 

The festival invited both national and international filmmakers whose films had been selected to participate in the three-day festival. Due to the COVID pandemic restrictions, many filmmakers had to cancel their trips last minute but these filmmakers made it to the festival and made the festival meaningful.
Renu Savant - Mod Bhaang 
Prachee Bajania – Makhfi
Deepti Gupta- Saboot 
Lakshmi Marikar- Blackhead
Rhea Mathews - Stains
Shireen Ghosh - Maa Tuki 
Nabina Chakraborty - Iq Rah-one Path, Many Journeys
Maheen Mirza and Richin - If she built a country
Mehvish Rather - Kandurwan, Baking History
Archana Chandrashekar - Jaadui Jungle
Rebana Liz John’s parents & protagonists of the film - Ships Outside My Window
Farha Khatun - Holy Rights
Priyanka More- Producer of Holy rights 
Deepti Gupta - Shut Up Sona
Devshree Nath - Noor Islam
Priya Sen - Yeh Freedom Life  
Hansa Thapliyal - The Outside In
Suborna Senjutee Tushee - Meenalaap

Women and photography 

Another highlight of the festival was the Women and Photography section where we looked at stories embedded within the single still image by inviting photographers and a photography archivist to present their work. Özge Calafato, Masrat Zahra and Sanna Irshad Mattoo to presented their work as part of this. Twelve photographs including four by Roanna Rahman in partnership with OXFAM India on the women tea plantation workers were exhibited in the premises of IIC during the festival.  


Özge Calafato presented the work of women photographers from Turkey with a focus on 4 pioneer photographers between 1910 and 1960. The representation of women changed through the transition from the Ottoman empire to Turkey, and family albums and studio photographs bear witness to these transitions.

Masrat Zahra and Sanna Irshad Mattoo are photographers from Kashmir and they presented their most recent works documenting the transitions in the lives around them. They were in conversation with IAWRT board member, Subasri Krishnan

Cinematography and photography technology 
On the second day of the festival, Canon India conducted a workshop on Cinematography and photography technology at the Conference room of IIC. An experience zone exhibiting latest Canon Cinema EOS cameras, DSLRs and printing machines were exhibited at the workshop venue and film festival attendees and students got hands-on experience. Unfortunately, COVID scares with sudden university closures affected this programme as students were unable to attend though they had registered.

The closing film for the festival was Honey, Rain and Dust a documentary film by UAE filmmaker poet, artist Nujoom Al Ghanem. The filmmaker was unable to attend at the last minute because of the travel restrictions imposed in the UAE due to COVID-19.

Overall the festival received an overwhelming response amidst the chaos in the capital and a global pandemic fear. 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.

Our thanks to:
The 16th IAWRT Asian Women's Film Festival would not have been possible without the support of our valued principal partner of over sixteen years - the India International Centre (IIC), New Delhi. 

Our special thanks is due to IIC Director K N Shrivastava, Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, Chairperson, IIC-International Research Division, IIC and Lalsawmliani Tochhawng, Chief, Programme Division and Secretary, IIC Film Club and all the supporting staff at IIC who helped us coordinate all the logistics over months and gave us all the support we needed.Our other partners for this edition of the festival were: Freidrich-Ebert-Stiftung,India (FES), Oxfam India, Jamia Bank, UN Women, Canon India, Marwah Studios and Cinestaan. There are also some individuals whom we must thank personally – Sunita Dhar, Akhila Sivadas, Meenal Manolika, Sanya Seth, Nishtha Satyam, Debasish Mazumdar , Sandeep Marwah ,Tejas Patel, Gaurav Markan. Arundhati Ghosh and Sukhpreet Kahlon.

This festival would also not have been possible without the active support of the former managing trustee Reena Mohan and our entire IAWRT Chapter India Board – Nupur Basu, Aparna Sanyal, Deepika Sharma, Ananya Chakraborti, Bina Paul, Mausumi Bhattacharya, Paromita Vohra, Samina Mishra and Subasri Krishnan. We are also very grateful to the help extended by IAWRT members Afrah Shafiq, Aradhana Kohli Kapur, Aruna Vasudev and Imrana Khan. A big thank you to you all! 

We can't thank enough to Zoya Riyas for her work on the logo, poster and publicity material design. And a special thanks also to Valson, our chief projectionist who ensured uninterrupted screenings with top-class projection over the three - day festival.  Thanks also to our festival assistant Nabina Chakraborty, Pallavi Paul and the volunteers from Delhi University and Vishwabharti University, Shantiniketan who worked tirelessly to guide the festival attendees.In the end, it was teamwork that got us through this wonderful 16th edition.

Monday, February 24, 2020


Introduction to the 16th IAWRT Asian Women's Film Festival by Festival Director Surabhi Sharma and Co-Director Priya Thuvassery

We are proud and indeed privileged to be a part of the team that has shaped the 16th edition of The IAWRT Asian Women's Film Festival. The breadth of the entries that we received this year in terms of genre, form, themes and cultural contexts was staggering. From student films to films made by established professionals in the field, we received a breathtaking array of voices and visions of women observing, interrupting, reflecting on and expressing their worlds. Each film adds to a delicate and dazzling tapestry of ideas and articulations by women filmmakers in Asia. 

52 films representing 15 countries made by Asian women filmmakers will be screened along with other highlights at the 16th IAWRT Asian Women's Film Festival. We received 700 entries and the number of excellent films we could not include in the festival almost equalled the number of films we did select. That indicates the quality of entries and gives a sense of the exciting films that women are making. We are proud to be screening not only films which have already been recognised at prestigious international film festivals but also ones which will have their World premieres at our event.

We felt it is important to discuss and deepen our understanding of the myriad paths women take to make the films they want to. Many of the films being made by women offer a glimpse of lives and histories that remain unrecorded or under-represented. This prompted the design of our workshop, We Make Cinema, that is divided into two sessions, We Archive Histories and We Produce Films. In the section titled Women and Photography we look at stories embedded within the single still image by inviting photographers and a photography archivist to present their work. Her Upside Down Gaze is an attempt to bring together films that stretch and jostle the genres that tend to box film practice. This is a selection of Asian filmmakers who are not merely experimenting but are shifting and shaping a distinct film language. Our country-focus in this edition is on the United Arab Emirates and we bring together three very different films that offer multiple lens to get a glimpse of lives in the UAE that go beyond the stereotype that the rest of the world have about this region. 

Women filmmakers offer a way to listen and to see the world through the prism defined by themes such as environment, democracy, gender, migration, sexuality, citizenship.... Welcome to another edition of films by Asian women. 

Note by Nupur Basu, Managing Trustee IAWRT India Chapter

In the summer of 2019 I sat in on an animated discussion in a room full of women filmmakers and curators in Turkey's capital city, Ankara . The occasion was a round table to share experiences on 'why we do what we do'. The women participants were from nine different countries. Besides the host country ,Turkey, they were from France, Germany, Portugal, Lebanon, Canada, Chile, Spain and I was from India. The participants were all representing film festivals that were exclusively made by women filmmakers.

The consensus around the table was that these spaces were sacrosanct and needed to be preserved,however challenging the task. The oldest women-only festival was from France and was into its 43rd edition . The youngest was from Lebanon - just two editions old.

In our 16th edition of our IAWRT Asian Women's Film festival I am convinced like never before that this exclusive non competitive cinema space we have created for Asian women directors in India needs to be nurtured.

As the world passes through turbulent times politically and democracies are under strain, the inner reflections of women filmmakers on what they make of this chaos,finds expression in their cinematic craft. After all, in cinema, the personal is political.

Whether it is a Senegalese woman working as a dress model in Istanbul , a Vietnamese architect trying to make a successful career in London or South East Asian women migrants working in Abu Dhabi, in film after film the protagonists ask searching questions on identity, migration, separation and loss . Memory and dreams often become the escape device for survival.

In its 16th edition of the festival through 51 films, an evocative photography exhibition by four women photographers and a workshop titled "We Make Cinema", IAWRT again showcases the range and aspirations of Asian women filmmakers .

Come and relish the magic of these creative expressions...the images, we are sure, will embed in your memory for a long time to come.

Screening Schedule for the 16th IAWRT ASIAN WOMEN'S FILM FESTIVAL

Friday, February 21, 2020


The 16th edition of the IAWRT Asian Women's Film Festival in partnership with the India International Centre (IIC) will be held from March 4, 5, 6 and 7, 2020 at the IIC, New Delhi.

4th March 2020 : Workshop - Conference Room 2 IIC

Session One: We Archive Stories 10 am - 1.00 pm

The first session brings together filmmakers, historians, publishers of feminist literature, archivists to discuss the myriad ways in which women filmmakers document histories, lives, labour and art.

Session Two: We Produce Films 2 pm - 6.30 p

The second session brings together producers, funding organisations, festival curators, distribution agencies and filmmakers to discuss the many paths and strategies available to women filmmakers to negotiate the process of making and distributing a film.

5th to 7th March
9 am to 9 pm, C.D. Deshmukh Auditorium, IIC

This year we were able to select 52 films from 15 countries from more than 700 entries. These will be screened over three days of the festival. (Film synopsis given below)
Women and Photography: Exhibition March 4 to 7.
Presentations- March 5 and 6

As filmmakers we are interested in the syntax and grammar of seeing and reading photography images produced by women. For this edition of the IAWRT Asian Women's film festival we have mounted a special exhibition of selected works of Özge Calafato, Masrat Zara, Sanna Irshad Mattoo and Roanna Rahman

March 5, 6 and 7 : 10 am to 5 pm

Conference hall 1

Workshop and experience zone by Canon where filmmakers/ students can have hands-on experience of the latest cameras.

Archiving histories By Özge Calafato : 5th March , 4.30pm

Distaff side gaze from the Valley By Masrat Zahra & Sanna Irshad Mattoo : 6th March, 3.30pm



Directed by Sreedevi K Girijan
Short fiction | 13mins | Malayalam | India | 2018

An old woman relives her past in the present. Memories mingle with dreams that remain unfulfilled. She journeys through the images from her past in her quest for answers.


Directed by Kivilcim Akay
Non-Fiction | 70 mins | Turkish, French, Wolof | Turkey | 2019

Amina is a 29-year-old Senegalese woman who works as a dress model in a textile company in Istanbul. Leaving her daughter behind, she immigrated to Turkey seven years ago to earn money and to take care of her child’s needs. As an African woman living in Turkey , Amina faces many challenges.


Directed by Samira Norouznaseri 
Short | 15 mins | Persian | Iran | 2017

Arghavan is excited to see her father on her 9th birthday.


Directed by Aidana Topchubaeva
Documentary | 20 mins 44 secs | Kyrgyz/ Kyrgyzstan | 2019

Nine-year-old Ayana is preparing to become a player of the national game of warriors - Kokboru. She dreams of becoming the first girl Kokboru player in the history of this game. Ayana believes her dream will become a reality because of the support of her parents. Her coach ,Tilek Mukaev, is her father, a famous Kokboru player.


Directed by Laxmi Marikar
Short Fiction | 22 mins 34 secs | Malayalam | India | 2019

Two friends share a close relationship and revel in the time they spend together. A sudden disruption in their lives leads them to the crossroads of love and the overlapping nature of relationships. This in turn forces a shift in the visceral and intense feelings they have for each other.


Directed by Gitanjali Rao
Animation | 98 mins | Hindi | India | 2019

This beguiling and topical animated feature written, designed, and directed by Gitanjali Rao follows multiple characters, each connected by a single red rose, as they navigate life and love in a sprawling Indian metropolis.


Directed by Rasita Kartarahardja
Animation | 1 mins 06 secs | English | China | 2019

Boxed is a short film about an introvert. Through isolation, it leaves itself to wander in its subconscious, dealing with its inner duality and exploring in one's self


Directed by Cheng Qiu
Animation | 2 mins 32 secs | Chinese | China | 2018

A short film about anxiety and dreams.

In a night, or in a day,

In a vision, or in none,

Is it therefore the less gone?

All that we see or seem

Is but a dream within a dream.


Directed by Xintong Wang
Animation | 3 mins 40 secs | Chinese(Zhejiang dialect) | China | 2019

Devil Fish is an experimental animation about the mad illusion of a man with paranoia.

In this animation, a patient tells the story of how he ate an octopus. The doctor thinks this is just another one of the many crazy monologues of a psychopath, but after receiving a message, he cannot help connect the message to the story.


Directed by Mai May Sakarwah
Experimental | 6 mins 43 secs | Chin | Myanmar | 2019

The film is about a girl who stops dreaming and starts dying.

11. GONE

Directed by Samaneh Fazlolah Asadi
Short Animation | 1 mins 40 secs | Persian | Iran | 2019

The last moments of an immigrant's farewell to her homeland and loved ones.


Directed by Maryam Mohajer 
Fiction, Short, Animation | 4 mins 35 secs | Persian | Iran | 2019

My Grandad was a romantic. He once saw a picture of my granny and realised she was the love of his life. One day he decided to go meet her.


Directed by Farha Khatun
Non Fiction | 50 mins | Urdu | India | 2019

Safia, a devout Muslim woman from Bhopal joins a program for training women as Qazis. It is through the lived experience of Safia Apa and several other women who joined the program that the film comments on the arbitrariness of the instant triple talaq practice.


Directed by Ghazaleh Razavi
Documentary | 24 mins 59 secs | Persian | Iran | 2019

This is the story of an eighty year Armenian man who once was a sailor, now lives alone in Tehran and is planning to marry a young girl.


Directed by Maheen Mirza and Rinchin
Non-fiction | 65 mins | Hindi | India | 2018

Rural, Adivasi women from the villages of Raigarh, Chhattisgarh talk about their struggles and the challenges they are forced to confront.


Directed by Bilen Sevda Konen
Documentary, Experimental, Short | 17 mins 38 secs | Turkish | Turkey | 2019

Dilara decides to go out at night. Her flatmate criticises Dilara about her clothes triggering self doubts in Dilara. She begins questioning and comparing herself with every woman she comes across and remembers from her past. A surprise ending awaits Dilara who gets back home late at night, exhausted by her shattered self-esteem.


Directed by Ashique VS, Faisal CS, Nabina Chakraborty, Irshada Ayoub, Roshni Kazmi, Sherin T Koshy 
Non-fiction | 28 mins 28 secs | Hindi | Mewati | India | 2019

'Iq rah- one path, many journeys' is a documentary film on the lives of children in Madrassas in Mehrauli, Delhi. It tries to depict the dreams and aspirations of these children.


Directed by Archana Chandrashekar/
Non-fiction | 34 mins | English | India | 2019

The film presents the enchanting life in the forest through the eyes of children until the moment when it has to contend with the stark reality of a forest fire.


Directed by Mehvish Rather
Documentary | 19 mins 28 secs | Kashmiri | India | 2019

Three women filmmakers narrate the history of a barely remembered baking tradition. The film focuses on the different kinds of traditional Kashmiri bread and the bakers who are trying to keep this tradition alive.


Directed by Sindhu Thirumalaisamy
Experimental, Non-fiction | 37 mins 18 secs | Hindi, English, Tamil, Bengali | India | 2019

Kere mattu Kere dwells in the peripheries of a polluted lake in Bangalore where the act of observation is interrupted by flying foam, noxious gases, daydreams, and questions from passers-by. The film is an attempt to see the lake as a 'toxic commons’, a polluted place that is nevertheless a place for ‘commoning’.


Directed by Yucong Chen 
Short, Student | 20 mins | Mandarin, Taiwanese, English | China | 2019

A Chinese "study mama" considers her daughter Nana as her most prized posession, sometimes imagining both of them in her fantasy world. But after having a fight this morning, she finds Nana is missing.

22. MAA TUKI (Find Me, Mother)

Directed by Suchana Saha
Short Animation | 4 mins 11 secs | English | India | 2018

A 25-year-old takes care of her mother in a hospital. They revel in nostalgic memory until they are forced to confront an undesirable change in their lives. This is a story of how they come to terms with this change.


Directed by Prachee Bajania
Non- fiction | 19 mins 08 secs | Marathi, Persian, English, Gujarati | India | 2018

The film draws thematic parallels with the poetry of Zeb-un-Nissa and positions her work in an environment of loss and forgetting.


Directed by Eshwarya Grover 
Non fiction/ 13 mins 40 secs/ Hindi/ India/ 2018

When Saira & Salim visit their old house it unfolds memories and conversations from a place they once called ‘home’.

25. MIU

Directed by Yael Lotem
Fiction/ 19 mins 16 secs/ English and Cantonese/ Israel/ 2019

These are the final days of Miu, a colourful young man who moved to London from Hong-Kong to become a successful architect. Combining re-enactments and interviews with the few people who knew him, Miu is about the anonymity of being a foreigner in a big city and how easy it is to lose your way.

26. MOD BHANG (The Ebb Tide)

Directed by Renu Savant
Non fiction | 60 mins | Marathi | India/2019

Shot through the monsoon in the creek of Mirya village, this film is a documentation of its fisherfolk. It brings out their working rhythms, dreams and desires, generational legacies of hard labour and their relationships to the sea and the fish as a sacred natural resource.


Directed Hai Di Nguyen 
Short | 20 mins | English and Vietnamese | Vietnam | 2019

“No More Than This” is a surrealist film about Nam Nguyen, a 57-year-old Vietnamese man who lives alone and works as a museum guard.

Nam has a daughter from a failed marriage whom he seldom sees. He tries to connect with other people but fails. He came to the UK as a refugee and although he has lived here for years he still feels invisible and does not feel he belongs in British society. One day his worst nightmare appears to come true, that in some sense, he no longer exists.


Directed by Devshree Nath
Documentary | 20 mins 05 secs | Assamese, Bengali | India | 2019

This documentary traces one man’s struggles of losing his identity. The film delves deep into his state of mind; of a person who is on the verge of losing almost everything he has.


Directed by Fatemeh Mohammadi 
Short/ 15 mins/ Persian/ Iran/ 2018

Mehrbanoo’s husband is suffering from Alzheimer’s. She tries everything to make his life worth living and meaningful. But rental issues and the absence of their children and grandchildren take their toll.


Directed by Mahoor Mirshakkak 
Documentary, Short/ 20 mins/ Persian/ Iran/ 2019


Forough Farrokhzad is one of the most influential women in the contemporary history of Iran. Her artistic achievements, as a poet and filmmaker, has had a deep influence on the Iranian art world. Fifty one years after her suspicious death at the age of 32, her radical lifestyle continues to influence many from different strata of Iranian society. Women aged 18 to 48 participated in a video interview and expressed their personal opinion about Forough Farrokhzad's impact on their lives.


Directed by Nishtha Jain, Deepti Gupta
Fiction/ 21 mins/ Hindi/ India/ 2019

Amandeep will never forget his time as a junior gynaecologist in a government hospital in Delhi. He was conscientious, which rendered him unfit for the system. The ‘women’s ward’ was a microcosm of women's lot in society. If he harboured any ideas about changing the system, he would have to search deeper, perhaps begin with himself.

32. SH'HAB

Directed by Amal Al-Muftah 
Short | 13 mins | Arabic | Doha | 2018

Upon hearing a myth about falling stars, a young girl's curiosity is sparked. When night falls on AlWakrah village, she sets out on her father's boat, with the assistance of her older brother, to chase the fabled comets.


Directed by Rebana Liz John
Non-Fiction | 27 mins 35 secs | English, Malayalam | India | 2018

The film is an exploration of the filmmaker's father's life as a seafarer in increasingly tough global conditions. Set in Mumbai, the view outside the window, is a voyage into the liminal spaces created by mental illness.


Directed by Deepti Gupta
Documentary | 85 mins | English, Hindi, Odia | India | 2019

Shut up Sona is a film about today's India at odds with the modern Indian woman. It is an intimate journey with Sona Mohapatra, singer, performer, troublemaker by choice!


Directed by Reema kaur, Shashank Walia
Short Non-Fiction | 28 mins 48 secs | Hindi/Marathi | India | 2019

An essay film exploring the universe of a city with an observational form. An old man, also a photographer, tells a tale of the city in which he has spent his lifetime, opening up the idea of a colony, a commune and how a city is reborn constantly to accommodate newer narratives.


Directed by Rhea Matthews
Short Fiction | 30 mins | English, Malayalam, Hindi |  India | 2018

The film revolves around the story of a couple from different cultural backgrounds who are spending the weekend with the man’s mother on Onam. The wife gets her periods and withdraws from the family. The film looks at the discomfort and prejudice around menstruation.

37. STAROYE DELO (The old Story will Begin again)

Directed by Alexandra Karam
Short | 15 mins | Arabic and Russian | Lebanon | 2019

Passionate and driven by the love of theater, Alissar and Amal were brought together by a play while coming from different nationalities and backgrounds.


Directed by YuHui (Judie) Yang
Short fiction | 15 mins 35 secs | Mandarin, Taiwanese, English  | Taiwan | 2019

Two young girls set out for a secret journey against their parents’ will in order to reconnect back with their grandparents. Their encounter encourages each other, turning their journey into a meaningful and unexpected adventure.


Directed by Shabnam Sukhdev
Non Fiction | 8 mins 30 secs/ English | Canada | 2019

A mother examines her relationship with her daughter and issues of mental health through theatrical role play with diverse women and languages.


Directed by Yili Han
Short | 6 mins | Chinese | China | 2019

Synopsis- As a middle school Chemistry teacher, Chen Jun never loses sight of her originality. Facing pressure from both school and family, Chen Jun uses the flour-explosion experiment to retaliate.


Directed by Cathy LEE Pei Yi
Short | Mandarin, Taiwanese | Taiwan | 29 mins | 2019

Feng-Lou lives with her brother Kun-Jie in a tiny home. Facing the danger of being separated from her, Feng-Lou hides her daughter Ah Xi. One day, Ah Xi saves a black butterfly that flew into the house and Kun-Jie suddenly dies in the attic.


Directed by Yuri Muraoka 
Animation, Experimental | 7 mins 18 secs/ Japan/ 2019

This film is a portrait of my daughters and me and depicts the relationship between “the personality” and “the world / the society” as of 2018.


Directed by Zahra Mirrza
Feature, Music Video, Short | 7 mins 30 secs | English/ Azerbaijan | 2019

Azerbaijan, 1937. A poet for Panturkish ideological ideas was arrested. His daughter comes to the prison to visit her father. The guard does not allow her to come in with a painting she has made for the father because it symbolises freedom. Repeated attempts at changing the painting fails to get her in until she paints a huge tree.The father looks at it and understands the message of freedom.


Directed by Priya Sen
Documentary | 69 mins 45 secs | Hindi | India | 2019

Yeh Freedom Life / This Freedom Life' tries to keep up with its protagonists, as they manoeuvre erratic and unpredictable love. One of them works at a local beauty parlour, the other runs the family’s small cigarette counter at a crowded intersection. They are surrounded by a cacophonous city; they are both in love with other women.

Her Upside Down Gaze
Curator: Afrah Shafiq


Directed by Payal Kapadia
Documentary | 23 mins | Marathi, Hindi | India | 2018

Namdeo has learnt to live off the forest from his father. He stares at the treetops, searching for honey. The wind blows and afternoon descends on the small village by the jungle. Women of the village, whisper little secrets of their lost loves. Never seen, and only heard. A strange smoke emits from the ground, like a dream of a time gone by.


Directed by Ekta mittal
Documentary | Fiction | 80 mins | Hindi, Punjabi, Chhattisgarhi | India | 2018

Ekta Mittal’s latest film combines documentary and fiction in a continuation of Behind the Tin Sheets—a collaborative project conceived in 2009, which focused on the subconscious of migrant workers to big cities. Here, Ekta turns her attention to the absence of those workers from their own towns and rural villages, in an undefined, ethereal space known as Birha.


Directed by Suborna Senjutee Tushee
Fiction | 28 mins | Bengali, Hindi, Marathi | Bangladesh | 2018

The 28-minute long film depicts the simple life of a married couple living in Maharashtra, India, and explores how they deal with pregnancy.


Directed by Yashaswini Raghunandan
Hybrid between Fiction and Non-Fiction | 65 mins | Bengali | India | 2019

Somewhere, not so far from here, the moon turned red and the village evolved into a mirage of unclear activity. A folktale like narrative emerges from a village of toy-makers and sellers in Bengal who cut-up reels and reels of Bollywood, Tollywood and B-grade films to make a living out of loud sounding rattlers, whistles and whirligigs.


Directed by Hansa Thapliyal
Documentary | 25 mins 08 secs | English/ India | 2019

What is art, in our lives? What is home? Can practising art, sharing it, give us a possibility of sharing home in the world?Two dollmakers work in very different ways, with the human form .They choose to work with very simple, sometimes discarded materials. The work gently prises open resistances we have, to empathizing with those facing harsh realities around us. The work playfully loosens up knots of shame and fear.

Country in Focus- UAE
Curators: Subasri Krishnan and Surabhi Sharma


Directed by Farah Al Qasimi
Fiction | 42 mins | English | UAE | 2019

Confessional television documentary following an ancient Jinn called Mother of Fire and her ruminations on the history of the UAE. The film explores colonial meddling and contemporary Eurocentric museum display practice.


Directed by Nujoom Al Ghanem 
Fiction | 86 mins | Arabic | UAE | 2016

Aisha, Fatima and Ghareeb are among the best known honey specialists in the northern parts of the UAE. Ghareeb is also considered a beekeeper because he established a sanctuary at the top of the mountains, where he can be in control of the surrounding environment and protect his honeybees. Fatima and Aisha prefer to roam the mountains freely to find the highest natural honey. Involuntarily, the bees have become integral to the lives of Aisha, Fatima and Ghareeb. But, for how long and to what extent can the bees, affected by climate change, keep providing ?


Directed by Sabrina Zhao
Non-Fiction, Artist, Experimental, Documentary film | 24 mins | Chinese | UAE | 2019

Vicky, I and Herself narrates the drifting subjectivities of Southeast Asian female migrants in Abu Dhabi, blurring the line between reality and fantasy.