Let’s Tell Stories

Authors: Khawar Mahmood & Hijab Siddiqui

Academy award winner producer & director Cecil B. DeMille said, “The greatest art in the world is the art of storytelling”. Everyone has some stories deep embedded in their subconscious; all one needs is some encouragement and a medium to uncover these fascinating stories in front of the world. Every story has a lesson; a good story always bonds the storyteller with its audience who then feel and experience the moments the storyteller experienced a while ago. Stories are used as an agent of change; they can alter the mindset of communities in a very effective way. Digital story telling using film as a medium, is a comparatively new field and a more effective one as well.

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Putting this faith to use, team Women through Film conducted a one-day workshop on citizen journalism and digital storytelling at Khatoon-e-Fatima school (a missionary school in Islamabad). The Women Through Film team was received by great enthusiasm by the young girls of Khatoon-e-Fatima school. The energetic bunch was introduced to the techniques of citizen journalism, story telling, and mediums that may be used to voice their opinions, and how they can become more active and responsible citizens by doing so. These included doing journalism via composing a written piece, creating photo stories, and/or making digital stories. The girls were given a space to get their creative juices flowing and came up with many interesting ideas.

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Once they shared their ideas, Madeeha Raza, the trainer, along with the rest of the team guided the students on how to develop a story line and a script, and then selecting one of the three mediums they wanted to execute their project with. One group of girls decided to film on the issue of drug addiction, while others chose topics basing around building a clean environment, issues on public transport for girls, maintaining public toilets, and many other interesting and thought provoking issues. We saw remarkable enthusiasm, as the drive to have created the best project inspired all the groups to do critical thinking, as well as film and photograph relevant scenarios to their stories.

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Though the workshop was conducted in a short period of time,it was very interactive, full of fun and learning for the participants,as well as for the Women Through Film team. The girls were excited to welcome the team again after the summer course, for a more detailed workshop, and our team is looking forward to help them build better projects and prepare for the Women International Film Festival next year.

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As theNative American proverb goes:“Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in heart forever.”

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Women Through Film Launches Pakistan’s First Women International Film Festival (WIFF)

“There would be no argument on the word feminism if we know what it means” said Farzana Bari at the launch of the Women International Film Festival.

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Various film enthusiasts and women rights supporters gathered today at the WeCreate Center in Islamabad, for the launch of Pakistan’s Premier Women International Film festival. The event featured informative panel discussions with renowned guests including Valerie Khan, Tazeeen Bari, Abrar ul Hassan, Noorena Shams, and Madeeha Raza. The spotlight of the event was also on Kirthi Jayakumar, the panelist that joined us all the way from India. An interactive session was organized at the end by the Women Through Film team, to learn about the expectations of society from women and the general perception of women in different segments of the society.

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Since the inception of Women Through Film, the aim has been to highlight social issues regarding women passionately using the tool of photography and filmmaking. The aim is to encourage female involvement on and off screen to voice their opinions on a national and international level. In order to achieve this purpose, the organization will be conducting workshops and seminars in schools and colleges all over Pakistan, which will equip young girls with the knowledge needed to use the craft of photography and film-making to empower women.

After the activities, Madeeha Raza, Founder and Creative Director of Women Through Film, announced Pakistan’s Premier Women International Film Festival, which will be held on the 10th and 11th of March 2017, marking the end of women’s week. She also announced various categories and types of films that may be submitted for WIFF 2017.

WIFF will not only be an opportunity for young girls to display their talent in filmmaking”, said Madeeha, “but will also give them a platform to raise their voices against the real issues that affect the real women of Pakistan. It will be a celebration of film, media and women for years to come!

The announcement was endorsed by the highly competent guests and panelists that were part of the event. Noorena Shams highlighted how filmmaking can be used as a tool to highlight the issues being faced by the women in sports and the challenges they face in this male-dominated field.

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After 15 years when we people will be talking about the 15th installment of WIFF, I will proudly say I was part of the first one Micheal Foley, CEO Telenor
The event was a huge success and ended with endorsements for WIFF and with the hope for it to last for decades to come.

Empowering the scattered

Author: Muhammad Saadullah Shah

“If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family” (Dr. James Emmanuel Kwegyir-Aggrey)

Exposed to the whirlwind of technological revolution, we humans have surrounded ourselves with all kinds of electronic gadgets and devices but are not fully aware of what potential these gadgets possess. Filmmaking is often considered an art that everyone needs themselves to equip with because the intensity of the message that can be conveyed via film is uncontrollable. The purpose of Women Through Film is to equip passionate, hardworking and oppressed with the art of making films through which they can share their stories with the rest of the world. It aims to highlight the stories of strong women who have achieved great success in their lives but have not received the recognition they deserve. In Pakistan the women of the region have always remained underrepresented. Especially in fields like filmmaking, they have had a minimum role to play, not in front of but behind the camera. The long term goal of Women Through Film is to collect films from all across the country and abroad and at the end of the year, hold a premiere film festival in which inspiring women from all over Pakistan are invited and their unknown and untold stories are shared with people across the country in order to get them the recognition they deserve.

Recently 60 second film festival was held in Islamabad where inspiring filmmakers with inspiring films from all over Pakistan and abroad arrived. The hall got filled people of all the fields and departments before even the start of the event. At this remarkable event a stall of Women Through Film was set.

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The main aim of the stall was the promotion and recognition of this initiative, to make people aware of this new concept and initiative and to make our presence known to the aspiring female filmmakers who aim to be a game changer in this male dominated field. The response that the stall received was overwhelming and rather unexpected. The crowd especially women showed a lot of interest and consideration towards the initiative.

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The stall almost came short of pamphlets and vouchers due to the number of responses it received. People got themselves registered for becoming a part of the initiative taken by Women Through Film. University students showed great willingness for involving themselves in the workshops and training sessions of Women Through Film. Women through Film a having the first initiative of its kind was warmly accepted by the attendees of the 60 second film festival and has set the foundations for the great success in the years to come.

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