Hear Women’s Voices: If Not Now, When?

by Emma Claire Goodman

“What has become of the woman? She is imprisoned in her own sex, striving to negotiate her identity in the society that she lives in. Her individual development and relations have been deformed by the pervasive patriarchal ideologies that link her femininity to submission.” (Cairo Film)

The Women’s Voices Now organization hopes to put an end to this, or, at the very least, give women who otherwise might not, a voice through which to tell their stories. In predominantly Muslim countries, women are facing incredible hardships and seemingly insurmountable struggle.

The basic concept of the festival is to empower these women, give them a medium through which to express their realities, combining activism and art.

The festival hopes to be able to show the incredible realities these women face, through different tales of strength, perseverance, and determination, every one poignantly and artfully rendered.

For instance, Bijoyeta Das’s Documentary, The Branded Girls, illuminates the horrendous working conditions of Bangladesh garment workers, who are made to work more than ten hours every day, facing harassment and sexual assault in the factories and during their late night treks home, with no insurance and no medical compensation. In Turkish documentary, Islak, by Zumrut Cavusoglu, a young woman is forbidden from entering the University because she wears a headscarf. And, an experimental documentary from Hejer Charf, Stoning Women, explores unsettling imagery of the inhumane treatment of women, citing an excerpt from the Quran that condemns the torture and mistreatment of Islamic women.

 This inspirational festival seeks to connect us to one another in the struggle for women’s rights.

Ninety-eight films were accepted out of the over two hundred submissions will compete for cash prizes of $35,000 and the opportunity to be featured in the WVN Festival in Los Angeles, March 17-19, 2011. However, every film shown will mark a vital step, allowing these women’s stories to be seen, heard, and realized.

 A panel of fifteen judges, including film directors, art professors, critics, artists and journalists, will select the top three films from each category (Fiction, Documentary, Student and Experimental), eight honorable mentions, and three prizes for the audience choice awards via online voting.

 You can view these incredibly poignant films and vote here.

As the organization depends on funding, you are also able to make a donation.

The Film Festival will be held in Los Angeles, at The Los Angeles Film School

6363 Sunset Boulevard

CA 90028

(877) 952-3456

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