DHAKA INT’L FILM FEST
Dhaka calls for creating space for women filmmakersCultural Correspondent
The Dhaka declaration of the International Conference on Women in Cinema called on women filmmakers from Asia and Australia to work together to promote their films, create new opportunities and learn from one other.
Appreciating the endeavours of women in filmmaking, the declaration called for creating opportunities for women filmmakers to take advantage of making and screening films set against the patriarchal attitude of society.
The declaration also demanded a true portrayal of women in films with due respect.
Afghan woman filmmaker Sahraa Karimi and Portuguese actor-director Francisco Veres Machado read the declaration at the closing ceremony of the two-day conference held on Saturday at the Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Hall of Dhaka University.
The conference was organised as part of the ongoing 13th edition of Dhaka International Film Festival that hopes to improve the standard and content of women based films and also to create an interaction among the women who are involved in the medium through exchanging ideas and experiences.
The vice chancellor of Dhaka University AAMS Arefin Siddique inaugurated the conference as the chief guest on Friday morning. Rights activist Farah Kabir presided over the opening ceremony.
Subsequently, Afghan filmmaker Sahraa Karimi presented the keynote paper on the role of women filmmakers to bring a change in the world.
Australian filmmaker Robyn Hugan, Dutch maker Clementine Ederveen took part in the discussion in the first session presided over by rights activist Khushi Kabir.
Filmmakers, critics, journalists, actors and academics of different countries took part in the discussion on depiction on women in war films in the second session.
Kaberi Gayen, a teacher of journalism department of Dhaka University, was the keynote speaker of the session in which Robyn Hugan and Sahraa Karimi and cultural activist Mofidul Haque replied to questions from the audience on the relevant topics.
In the first session of the second day’s programme, Bangladeshi women filmmakers shared challenges and realities in the local film industry known as Dhallywood.
Filmmakers like Fauzia Khan, Sabnam Ferdousi and Samia Zaman took part in the discussion presided over by renowned maker Shamim Akhtar on Saturday morning at the same venue.
In the second session, renowned Indonesian filmmaker Nurkurniati Aisyah Dewi presented the keynote paper on ‘Women and Cinema: New Trend’ featuring the role of women filmmakers and analysing the relation between film and empowerment of women.
Academic Salimullah Khan, actor Rokeya Rafique Baby, Norwegian filmmaker Gyda Velvin Myklebust took part in the session presided over by Afghan filmmaker Sahraa Karimi.
The topic of the last session of the conference was gender representation in Bangladeshi films. Teachers and students of the women and gender studies department, journalism department, film and media studies department of Dhaka University, and journalism and media studies department of private university ULAB took part in the session moderated by professor Gitiara Nasreen of journalism department of the Dhaka University.
Discussants and keynote papers presented at the conference analysed the common trend of women’s film in the world since the introduction of the genre in the mainstream films produced in Hollywood and Bollywood in the middle of the last century.
On most cases such films are made from business motive: to attract the women viewers by portraying ‘women’s concerns’ such as problems revolving around domestic life, the family, motherhood, self-sacrifice, and romance, the conference analysed.
The discussants also expressed concern for depiction of women as symbol of sex in the mainstream films in Hollywood and Bollywood.
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