The Women International Film Festival Makes a Comeback in Islamabad with its 7th Edition

Pakistan World

The Women International Film Festival (WIFF) started on Friday, March 10th, 2023. The opening ceremony was held at the Alliance Française d’Islamabad, where five episodes from the animated French series Culottées were showcased.

On the 11th and 12th of March, public screenings were held at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA), with support from the Embassy of France in Pakistan, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany Islamabad, and FM89 as the official radio partner. Madeeha Raza, the festival’s founder and curator, opened the event by discussing the seven-year journey of the platform successfully showcasing films made by women from across the world. The German Ambassador to Pakistan, Alfred Grannas, highlighted the importance of strong female voices in the film industry.

The two-day event featured 18 short films from countries such as Argentina, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Turkey, the UK, the USA, and Pakistan. The jury panel, consisting of esteemed filmmakers from diverse backgrounds, awarded the Best Film prize to 48 hours by Azadeh Moussavi from Iran. The film tells the story of a man who, after three years in prison, is given a furlough to go home and given an ultimatum of 48 hours to become a father to his four-year-old daughter.

The film screenings concluded with a panel discussion on “Mobilizing support for filmmakers,” featuring local film producers and directors such as Hamza Gurmani, Halimah Tariq, and Marya Javed. The panel discussed how to garner support for emerging local filmmakers and served as a great opportunity for attendees to learn how to overcome funding and other production challenges.

This year, the festival is traveling to Karachi, being hosted by the Goethe-Institut on March 16th, and to Lahore, being hosted by Aangun – Center for Learning and Culture on March 18th. Over the years, WIFF has aimed to fill the gender gap in film and promote female filmmakers by creating a platform for diverse storytellers from all over the world. The overarching goal is to build and unite the next wave of talent and connect the film community. It is evident that we need more such opportunities for women so they can take their stories to the screen and share them with the community. Unfortunately, ‘My Mother’s Daughter’ from Pakistan was censored by the Central Board of Film Censors and could not be screened.

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