ISLAMABAD: The opening ceremony of Women International Film Festival (WIFF) took place in Islamabad, celebrating the International Women’s Day alongside. The event was organized by Women Through Film in collaboration with the Embassy of France in Pakistan, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany Islamabad, British Council, and Serena Hotel Islamabad.
His Excellency H. E. Nicolas Galey, Ambassador of France to Pakistan, and Excellency Bernhard Schlagheck, the Ambassador of Germany to Pakistan attended the ceremony and commended the efforts of Women Through Film and its founder & curator, Madeeha Raza. The French Ambassador thanked the festival director and team and spoke about the conditions of women in Pakistan. He discussed French’s policy of self-expression and social change, gender equality and the feminist foreign policy of France.
Ms. Shandana Gulzar Khan, MNA, and the Federal Minister of Food Security and Research, Mr. Syed Fakhar Imam also attended the ceremony.
In addition to the opening remarks, Arab Blues – a French feature film was screened. The film follows a woman who after years abroad in Paris, returns home to Tunis with the dream of opening up her own psychotherapy practice. The director – Ms. Manele Labidi herself was also present virtually for a Q&A session following the screening.
Lastly, the WIFF team thanked the partners who made this year’s edition possible. For the future, the dream for WIFF is travel to more cities, partner with more organizations, and spread the message of WIFF far and wide.
The film festival runs from March 8th to 13th, with intercity screenings in Faisalabad and Peshawar, and public screenings set to take place on the 11th and 12th March at the PNCA Islamabad. This year the festival is screening 14 films made by women from all over the world, including three films by Pakistani filmmakers, namely The Mirage City by Areeba Imran, Mrs. Khanby Mariam Majid and Teddy 2.0 by Fatima Butt. Besides these films, the festival will also feature films received from Australia, Egypt, Estonia, France, India, Iran, Mexico, and Russia.
Two feature length films – It is Not Over Yet in collaboration with the Royal Danish Embassy, and Fly Away Home in collaboration with the Austrian embassy, will also be showcased. The latter will screen on the closing day on March 13th.
Over the years, WIFF has aimed to fill the gender gap in film, besides widening appreciation for independent cinema, by creating a platform for diverse storytellers from all over the world. The overarching aim is to promote female filmmakers by building and uniting the next wave of talent and connecting the film community. It is evident that we need more such opportunities for women so they can take their stories to the screen and share with the community.
About Women Through Film
Women Through Film, the curating entity for WIFF, is a Pakistan-based initiative trying to encourage and facilitate young girls and women to use self-expression, storytelling, and fiction through filmmaking to raise their voice and create social change. It is an initiative to celebrate the success stories, struggles, and achievements of inspiring women from all walks of life. We aim to create an army of vocal, confident, fearless, and economically independent female filmmakers who can tell stories about issues that affect them, using film and other interactive media.