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Creatively Projecting through Film, Crucial need for Women’s Empowerment

“Don’t Shrug it Off” wins the ‘Women’s Safety and Empowerment’ short-film contest, hosted by U.S. Consulate.

Mumbai: Creatively projecting through film the crucial need for women’s empowerment, the short film titled “Don’t Shrug it Off”, won the first prize in the “Women’s Safety and Empowerment” short-film contest, organized by U.S. Consulate Mumbai, on Friday, December 7 at Novotel Hotel, Juhu.

Two other short films including “An Independence Day” and “It’s Our City, Too” won second and third prize, respectively. “Acid Attack” won the People’s Choice Award at the event and Supreet K. Singh won the Best Woman Director Award for her film “Nirbhaya Mai Asifa Mai”

Don’t Shrug It Off, the winning film, touched on the subconscious and subtle gender discrimination in our everyday lives.

The top three winners were awarded scholarships for an online course in screen writing at the New York Film Academy (NYFA), a film festival partner along with Women in Film and Television (WIFT), India.

Talking on the subject of women empowerment, actress and jury member Tisca Chopra said, “Film and women empowerment are two things I love in my life. They are things I feel deeply about.”

“It (women empowerment) can be a great subject for a film as well as cinema can further the cause tremendously, which is the need of the hour. As more and more women join the workforce (in films), films which show the female point of view far more clearly will be made and that is the hope”, she added.

Also speaking at the occasion, U.S. Consul General Edgard Kagan said, “Women’s safety and equality is not an Indian issue or an American issue. Achieving justice and parity for women is a global obligation. Each of us men and women alike must play a role in solving it.”

Along with Chopra, the jury comprised Bollywood celebrities including Mita Vashisht, Rasika Duggal, director Mahesh Mathai, screen writer Anjum Rajabali, Suniti Ghoshal from NYFA and David Kennedy from the U.S. Embassy New Delhi.

This year, the consulate received a total of 46 film entries from the five states of Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra. Of those, ten were short listed for screening at the grand finale.

ABOUT THE CONTEST

The Women’s Safety and Empowerment Short Film Contest has been held every year since 2013. It marks the UN “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence” global campaign to promote the idea of women’s safety and empowerment.

The December 7th film screening and award ceremony was the finale of the contest, in which filmmakers from across western India submitted short-films that promote and raise awareness about safety and empowerment of women. The three-month-long contest included workshops on basic film-making for social good in Mumbai, Indore, and Vadodara. The film-making contest itself ran from Oct. 1 to Nov. 10.

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