About 1.3 billion people live in abject poverty in the world and 70 percent are women. Rape became a leading tactic of war in Bosnia, Congo, Rwanda and Liberia, where 75 percent of the women and girls were raped in its civil war. In developing countries like Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Mali, and Niger, more than 60 percent of the women were married as teenagers. Two-thirds of the world’s 1 billion illiterate people are women.
As journalists and educators of future journalists, we see it as our responsibility to make sure the stories of women are told boldly and passionately. We have found that the immediacy of film and the images of women who have suffered and triumphed is an effective way to maintain and spread conversations and spark reporting so vital in keeping the focus on troubling issues like sexual violence, forced marriage, denial of rights of employment and education, “honor killings” and sexual slavery.
We are proposing that we use the platform of the school to bring together five distinct but interconnected groups to begin what we hope will be a continuing discussion and a boost to journalism and filmmaking. Those groups are filmmakers, journalists, activists, students at our school and others throughout the city, and the general public. We believe that this convergence of interests at a graduate school of journalism for an annual festival is unique and of value to all five groups.
We intend to have tragic films, films showing women overcoming hardships, films selected from several regions of the world from the Americas, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Pacific.
We also hope to foster news and action. In addition to showing and discussing a number of wonderful and important films, we plan to have interviews with newsmakers, panel discussions, conversations with filmmakers and panel discussions with activists, officials, journalists and filmmakers. Our goal is a continuing discussion throughout the year on our website and with smaller events.
We aspire to start eventually to show documentary films from our fledging documentary program and to raise funds for students to complete projects on human rights issues.
Photo Credit: A. www.viajar24h.com