Festival Report Asian Women’s Film Festival, (19th Edition)

7-9th March 2024 at India International Centre, New Delhi

Organized by ‘International Association of Women in Radio & Television’ (IAWRT) – Chapter India

Supported by

Embassy of France in India; French Institut, India; Alliance Francaise, Delhi; Delhi Tourism; Shergill-Sundaram Arts Foundation; Breakthrough Trust; UN Women; Goethe -Max Mueller Bhawan Delhi; INKO Trust- Chennai

In collaboration with:

India International Centre, New Delhi

IAWRT Chapter India’s Asian Women’s Film Festival is the only Festival of it’s kind which celebrates the works of women (or those who identify as women) of Asian origin from across the world.

It is held each year to mark International Women’s Day and this years’ edition was the 19th edition!

  50 Films, across genre`s including fiction features, documentaries, shorts, animation, student and experimental films from 20 countries were screened over three days at the C. D. Deshmukh Auditorium, India International Centre, Main Block, including a specially curated section of short films from Iran. The auditorium was packed with media school students, general audiences, cinephiles, IIC and IAWRT members.

A seminar ‘The once and future of Documentary’ to initiate a conversation on archiving, at a time when everything has a digital afterlife with a spotlight on women films collectives, and a three day workshop ‘Balancing Acts’ –  on balancing storytelling and messaging for content creators from diverse backgrounds including young women from tribal areas, urban poor communities and film school students were also held. The workshops saw participation of members from Nepal as well.

A Masterclass with the highly acclaimed Palestinian Film maker Mai Masri from Lebanon and an upskilling session as a conversation on editing between Amrita David(France) and Jabeen Merchant(India) were much sought after sessions. 

A conversation on Gender, Consent and Law-  exploring consent in a holistic manner supported by UN Women and PLD was also organized. The session was conducted by Dr.Anjali Monteiro , IAWRT India and IAWRT International Board member

Interactive conversations on : Mainstreaming the Marginalized- film making in the time of OTT and Journeys of Diverse Practices, were held in the open under a Banyan Tree , in the Gandhi King Plaza ay India International Centre.Animated conversations amongst film makers and an invited audience ensured meaningful discussions.

The opening film ‘The Siren’ by Sepideh Farsi a French Persian production depicting the human cost of war, was a film especially important for our times. 

As always renowned film makers from all over the world and India were there to present their films and be present for Q&As post screenings. Including iconic names like  Mai Masri from Lebanon- who screened her film ‘Frontiers of Dreams and Feats.

Shin Su Won from South Korea who presented her film ‘Homage’ .

 Amrita David from  France screened her film  ‘Towards Tenderness’

Additionally, there were two exhibitions – Daastan e Rafoo by  Rafooghar and Let’s teach through Stories by Alka Hingorani member IAWRT Chapter India.

As a special treat Alliance Francaise New Delhi had organized an all women concert on the 9th of March at Stein Auditorium India Habitat Centre, to mark International Women’s Day which played to a full house!

We were fortunate to have Bina Paul, IAWRT Board member as our Festival Director for the 19th edition and Anitha Balachandran – Treasurer IAWRT Chapter India, for designing and illustrating all the artwork for the Festival. 

The Festival was formally inaugurated the 7th of March at a simple ceremony.

Shri. Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens, Director French Institute, India was felicitated by Aaradhana Kohli, Managing Trustee IAWRT- Chapter India. He addressed the gathering on the occasion.

Juliette Grandmont was also felicitated for her contribution to the 19th edition of the Asian Women’s Film Festival.

Long time supporters and friends of IAWRT and the Asian Women’s Film Festival Suneeta Dhar, Dr Marla Stukenberg Regional Director South Asia (Goethe) , L.S. Tochhawng, Head Programme Division IIC were also felicitated.

The inauguration was followed by screening of the opening film and dinner which was attended by representatives from the US Embassy, French Embassy, Korean Cultural Centre, Skill India, Goethe, Shergill Sundaram Arts Foundation, India International Centre, Breakthrough Trust, UN Women, grassroots media women and IAWRT members from India, Nepal, and IAWRT India who was visiting from Hong Kong! Representatives from various women’s organizations amongst others added value to the occasion.

The India International Centre, New Delhi held a festive air as media practitioners, well known names from the film world and audiences young and old celebrated the moving image in all it’s avatars!