14 February 2017 – Islamabad, Pakistan: Pakistan’s first-ever ‘Izhar by Film Fellowship’ (IBFF) programme – an initiative of Morango Films, with support from UN Women (the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women) – will commence its four-day filmmaking course in Islamabad from 16-19 February 2017. The IBFF in its first round, early this year received 200 applications following which 60 aspiring filmmakers aged 18 and older were selected from across Pakistan interested in raising their voice to create awareness regarding social issues, and promote the spirit of responsible citizenship through visual media.
The first IBFF on ‘social and political rights of women’ focuses on four areas: (i) harassment-free workplaces/educational institutes; (ii) women’s access to safe public spaces; (iii) internet safety for women; and (iv) women’s political rights.
In using filmmaking as a tool to positively impact in redressing gender inequality, renowned music video and commercial film directors Amena Khan and Sohail Javed will be joining IBFF and provide rigorous training and mentorship sessions to all trainees on the ‘how to’ of using the medium of film to narrate social issues towards shaping public opinion.
Speaking of the partnership, Mr. Jamshed Kazi (Country Representative, UN Women Pakistan) said, “What we see on-screen reflects the off-screen realities of women’s lives all too well, whilst media images continue to form a strong impact on our perceptions. With a new generation of aspiring filmmakers benefiting from the first-ever Izhar by Film Fellowship programme, we look forward to seeing a move beyond tired stereotypes that constrain women’s access to and participation in social and political activities, a move that simultaneously inspires public action against gender inequalities.”
Mr. Abrar Ul Hassan (Founder, Morango Films) shared, “Izhar by Film Fellowship is more than just a fellowship programme. The youth will be using filmmaking as an agent of change regarding the social and political rights of women. The message will stretch out not just in Pakistan but beyond the boundaries.”
At the end of the fellowship, the best 10 films will be selected and the filmmakers will be declared the first batch of fellows of the IBFF programme who will ultimately be contesting to take the top 3 positions and scholarship grants. The best films will be screened at a national-level event in Islamabad, next month.
This collaboration between UN Women and Morango Films falls under UN Women’s project on “Women’s Peace, Security, Rights and Voice: safe public spaces, community outreach and empowerment, and political awareness and advocacy” with support of the Government of Australia.