Displacement & Resilience: women Iive for a new day

Conflict, migration and the experience of exile

The 2019 IAWRT documentary is on the theme of the worldwide refugee crisis and rising intolerance and polarisation all over the world.

As in previous years, IAWRT put out a call for proposals for the Long Documentary, a collaborative film helmed by the person whose proposal is selected, and made with contributions from members across the globe. The proposal selected by the Board  came from Chandita Mukherjee of India who was asked to be the Executive Producer.

In turn she put out a second call for stories from IAWRT members, and the project came together. Film makers from Philippines, Tunisia, Canada and India came forward with stories about women refugees forced to flee from their countries and take shelter in unknown lands and internally displaced women who remain in their own countries, but whose lives are dislocated.

The documentary film is entitled Displacement & Resilience: women live for a new day. It has already won one award at the Short Film Festival, Kolkata, India.

As the stories came in from the four country directors tasked with bringing out the state of the women caught in conflict, this documentary film focused on the resilience of women refugees.

 

Chandita Mukherjee is the executive producer of Displacement and Resilience: women on the move likes to explore the different ways that people understand the world and act on it. She tries to communicate this through her non-fiction film practice and to sensitise audiences through the self awareness such knowledge creates. Chandiat also co-directed the Rohingya segment. 

 

 

 

Erika Rae Macapayag Cruz (Philippines)

This segent tells the story of two communities in the Phillipines struggling to protect their land from being grabbed and exploited for profitable resourse based projects, through the eyes of two articulate women chieftains, Bai Bibyaon of the Lumad community and Bai Ellen of the Matigsalug people. Both communites came from the island of Mindinao.

 

 

Afrah Shafiq (India)

A portrayal of the lives in exile of Tibetan refugees living in Dharamshala in north-west India, told through Namgyal Dolkar Lhagyari, an elected member of the parliament of the Tibetan government-in-exile. She and her colleagues work to make the world aware of the struggles within Tibet and human rights violations being carried out there against prisoners of conscience.

 

 

Khadija Lemkecher (Tunisia)

Syria in 2011 had 22 million people before armend resistance became on onging war supported by international players. In 2016 the United Nations identified 13.5 million Syrians as requiring humanitarian assistance. The protagonist of this story is Haifa, a woman from Ghouta and her extended family – who escaped the war on a ship and found refuge in Tunisia  – without her husband, who has disappeared.

 

 

 

Eva Louise Brownstein (Canada)

Eva also fucused on the Syrian diaspora, examining the way formely home-bound women make a homes and engage with a new society. Set in Vancouver, Canada, this segment shows a group of Syrian refugee women who overcame their isolation in a foreign land through a food collective called Tayybeh, which specialises in Syrian regional cuisines.

 

 

Archana Kapor (India)

This part of the documentary travels into the Rohingya encampments in the state of Haryana in India, to bring us women’s accounts of their escape from violence of the genocadal attacks by the Myanmar Army and vigilante groups.

We also get a glimpse of the massive humanitarian activities of the UNHCR, through Sumbul Rizv, a senior  UN Coordinator based at Cox's Bazaar, Bangladesh which is 'home' to 920,000 refugees.

The completed film was previewed at the IAWRT Regional Conferrence in Kampala, Uganda, in October  2018,

Premiere

Displacement and Resilience premiered on March 5th, 2019 at the15th IAWRT Asian Women's Film Festival, New Delhi.

Chandita Mukherjee, the Executive Producer was joined by the contributing directors from India, Archana Kapoor and Afrah Shafiq for interactions after the screening. The film received a warm response from the packed hall and was decribed by one reviewer as  

"a sharp indictment of the lack of humanity within the state and the people, while doubling up as a celebration of the enduring spirit of resistance and an effective demand of [sic] reformative practices. "  www.cinestaan.com

More Screenings

2nd South Asian Short Film Festival, Kolkata, March 23rd, 2019, organised by the Federation of Film Societies of India, where it received a warm reception and was awarded the prize for best documentary in the 40- 60 minutes category, called the P.K. Nair Award.

"Homeless and country-less, refugees pay the price for wars and purges. The film takes us deep into their psyche and focuses on the humanitarian work being done for their rehabilitation."  P.K. Nair Award, jury citation

 
IAWRT India Board member Mausumi Bhattacharyya took the initiative to arrange more screenings in Kolkata during the time Chandita was present in the city.

Kolkata Press Club: March 23, 2019 for some 26 media persons. Despite the pre-coccupation with the general elections at the time, this was a good screening with interesting questions being raised.

Rabindra Bharati University: March 25, 2019, morning screening with post-graduate students, jointly hosted by the Departments of Women's Studies, Human Rights and Media Studies.

St.Xavier's University, Kolkata: March 25, 2019, afternoon, screening at Mass Communication Department,  with students of both undergraduate and post-graduate courses present.

Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute, Kolkata: April 1, 2019Prizewinners at the festival were screened at the  for students of the six disciplines of film-making taught there.
 
York University, Canada May 14th, 2019, Screening at the conference of the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies at the Centre for Refugee Studies, to an audience of academicians. The screening was followed by a discussion.
 

 "People thought it was very beautiful and they appreciated the breadth of forced migration that was represented, and how women were depicted as leaders and resilient problem solvers, not just victims."  Conference organiser, Michaela Hynie

 
Film and Television Institute of India at Pune May 24th, 2019. Screening at the Film Appreciation Course of Summer 2019
 
This annual extramural course of four weeks is held at the premier institute of film making in India with the aim of encouraging an informed level of writing and discourse on film in the media. Journalists who write on film, television and new media, college lecturers in language and literature, film society organisers were included in this 100 strong group.
 
The four 10 minute films sent by the film makers from Philippines, India, Tunisia and Canada were screened, followed by the final edited version and it gave rise to a lot of discussion. The course participants were enthusiastic to discuss the possibilities of collaborative film-making in the future, using internet telephony and image sharing, that would allow local stories to be told by local people, familiar with the particular language and culture as has been done in Displacement and Resilience.
 
Godrej India Culture Lab, Mumbai June 8th, 2019. Part of a special day-long event, called Migration Museum.This enquired into migration through conversations, poetry, films and art. It explored issues of identity in the context of migration. This was the graduation project of the second batch of Godrej India Culture Lab's Leadership Programme which aims to train managers of cultural institutions. The film was very well received by the audience of 450.
 
Displacement and Resilience is invited for screening at the Madurai International Film Festival, in India in December. Producer Chandita Mukherjee is being honoured with a retrospective at this festival, where she will show five hours of past work ending with the IAWRT global production.