The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT), India chapter is one of the largest chapters of IAWRT with close to 70 members from radio and television, Homepage here. It is also the first to have started a film festival - the Asian Film Festival in 2005.
The festival has grown bigger with every passing year. It has built many partnerships over the years and with support from IAWRT International, it is able to screen over 45-50 films in three days at multiple locations and host a couple of seminars on issues of feminism in films, gender, media and more. The festival is a celebration of women reflected through creativity, linguistic and cultural diversity under a multiplicity of themes. Focused on screening of films produced by women of Asian origin only, the festival invites filmmakers from all over Asia but always puts together a special package on one particular country each year.
Organised by its members, this festival is a true manifestation of the spirit of voluntarism, with members who travel from across the country to be a part of it: as moderators, panelists, technicians, facilitators, media managers and more.
Students from various colleges await the announcement of the festival and constitute a large part of the audience. The festival travels across India to colleges and special packages are screened at international festivals too.
IAWRT India has twice successfully hosted the IAWRT International Biennial conference, most recently in 2015 in New Delhi.
It has also established a scholarship from the interest on the money donated by its founding member, the late Jai Chandiram. A small amount of $1000 is given to members for research or travel for their projects.The chapter aims to launch a lecture series starting 2016, provided it is able to raise funds. It is also planning to train and mentor students from neighboring countries in animation, filmmaking and digital technology.
The current board which took over formally in April 2108, is, as in the past, an eminent group of women who are professors, teachers, mentors, independent filmmakers, radio producers and community radio practitioners. They bring with them years of experience and a strong vision for the India Chapter.
They would like to:
- Strengthen and enlarge liberal spaces for creative expression
- See IAWRT emerge as the foremost organization of media professionals and practitioners that can influence policy on issues concerning women in media
- Work towards creating alliances with like-minded women and institutions to join hands to protect freedom of expression, gender justice and human rights
- Provide mentorship to young professionals by providing them opportunities of working with the best in the business of media and production and expand the membership
- Encourage research and writing and explore the world of social media to make IAWRT more visible and encouraging comments on issues related to women in radio, print and television
- To make the India Chapter more vibrant and active by increasing its activities, interact with universities and colleges, host seminars and hold screenings of films
- To help build a strong South Asia network and raise funds to support planned programmes in the chapter as well as Asia
A few achievements of IAWRT members:
- Blood Leaves its Trail documentary by Iffat Fatima, supported by FOKUS declared the runner up in the competition at Film South Asia, Kathmandu.
- Feminist Media Histories - Shikha Jhingan contributed about a young Bombay female film music director,Sneha Khanwalkar, details here.
- Beyond Music: Maestros in Conversation, book by Geeta Sahai and Shrinkhla Sahai more details here.
- Bread Beauty Revolution edited by Iffat Fatima and Syeda Hameed more details here.
- Understanding Trafficking and The Journey by Ananya C. Chakraborti, part of a FOKUs supported anti trafficking project which included showings and workshops in remote villages.
- Changemakers — five minute documentaries about women who are taking a stand on important issues: by Geeta Sahai I Have A Dream about Kavita Kumar working to assist mentally challenged children live a life of dignity and by Leena Manimekalai, a film on Dayamani Barla, the first Adivasi journalist from Jharkhand who organises a mass movement against India’s largest steel plant.
- Vani Subramanian made a 5 minute short ''Yeh Hai Dilli Mere Yaar" (This is Delhi, My Love) that explores the notion of safety among women in Delhi.
Below: Managing Trustee: Nupur Basu; immediate past Managing Trustee IAWRT international board member: Archana Kapoor, Board Members: Bina Paul, Mausumi Bhattacharya, Ananya Chakraborti,
Chapter Head (Managing Trustee)