Power of Film, And Women!

Written by Ariel Dougherty @MediaEquity

Edited by Sheila Dallas-Katzman

A dynamic and stimulating workshop hosted by the International Women’s Association in Radio and Television USA, IAWRT India, and the Women’s International Newsgathering Services – WINGS, took place during the recent UN Committee on the Status of Women (CSW67), a NGO CSW Parallel Event.  Visual Visionaries: Power of Film and Feminism, Teaching and Technology brought together feminist filmmakers from across the globe to report on cinematic progress for women and outline areas of deficiency that still remain. The widely different presentations were so complimentary in providing short histories about women filmmakers in their countries and underscoring the central universal problem–the lack of access to funds. Chilean filmmaker Susana Díaz Berríos explained her struggle in terms of DIY (Do It Yourself) as “super far from my classmates and even more from the audiovisual production systems.” 

Two of the women, Paromita Vohra from IAWRT India and Ariel Dougherty from the IAWRT USA  – both who have worked in community teaching settings with girls and women – showed short films GROWN UP GIRLS REIMAGINE WORK and SHY GIRL Each rich with animation, highly imaginative and fantastical, brought the hopes and dreams of girls into the mix of the discussion. The works heightened the central point of the session, that the visual nature of film has a powerful impact.  And if women and girls “cinematic stories are not part of our daily viewing – then it is like we do not exist. And we cannot make progress.” explained Dougherty.

The formation of collectives, feminist support and teaching environments, distribution channels, and film festivals were all central components brought up by the five presenters. The Ghana based film festival NDIVA was founded by Aseye Tamakloe, a filmmaker and session presenter from Ghana, Africa. Her work exemplifies how we all wear many hats to present and preserve film works by, for and about women.

Edel Brosnan, from Ireland, is the director of strategy for the European Women’s Audiovisual Network. Some of her work has centered on working with women to achieve funding, bringing full circle the discussion. All of these series of networks are necessary for women to make their feminist films that reflect feminist visions of the world and how we build and strengthen community and enlarge viewership.   

The session was moderated by Aaradhana Kohli, the Managing Trustee of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (India) and had brief welcoming address by Dr. Michelle Ferrier, President and Sheila Katzman, President, USA Chapter. The Zoom chat was quite active. In the chat, a long- time supporter of Women Piped Up had this to say, “I’ll work with the group to do a follow up session with the women’s donor community.” 

It’s not just about access. It’s about expression and world views


  • In Chile, there has been advances in terms of gender parity and inclusions of native peoples in state funds.
  • The new generations of audiovisual women have organised themselves into collectives to ensure safe places for women and dissidents.
  • There are more women in technical areas such as sound and editing.
  • It is important not replicate the patriarchal ideas of power that is so damaging to relationship.
  • In addition, there is a place for everyone and if we can grow up together, that will be much better for our film industry.

Who’s Who on the parallel event:

Ariel Dougherty, New Mexico, USA: filmmaker, teacher, co-founder Women Make Movies, Inc.

Aseye Tamakloe, Accra, Ghana: director, When Women Speak, Nvida Women’s Film Festival organiser; 

Paromita Vohra, Mumbai, India: filmmaker, teacher, and founder of Girls Media Group and Agents of Ishq;
Edel Brosnan, Director of Strategy, European Women’s Audio-Visual Network; and

Susana Diaz Berríos, Chilean Director & Producer 

Translator: Ana Valdés (Chile)