MOVEMENT BUILDING THROUGH FILM
These are thrilling times for International Image Film Festival for Women (IIFF) outreach!
The festival has traditionally reached out to local women, including communities in Harare schools, Chipinge, Binga , Bulawayo and Gwanda. The latest addition to IIFF’s increasingly successive outreach programme is the Women's Movement Building:Film Dialogue series implemented in partnership with the Zimbabwe Women's Resource Center Network (ZWRCN).
The dialogue series is an effort by WFOZ and ZWRCN to strengthen the women's movement beyond women individuals professionally engaged in women's development. Films screened at the dialogues always show the agency of women in different capacities, as teachers, mothers as well as as young girls trying to fight an oppressive system.
Launched in November 2015, the inaugural event was a resounding success, with women crowded into the ZWRCN boardroom to watch WFOZ production PERETERA MANETA about a school child who is abused by a staff member.. Discussion after the screening underscored the unanimous commitment the Zimbabwe women’s movement has to combat child sexual abuse in Zimbabwe. IIFF 2015 BEST Short Film DAMARU, a film from Cameroon that tells the story of a deaf girl who defies rape and stigma to get the education she desires. KORJI, a film from GHANA, also featured in the programme.
In line with its mandate of movement-building, after three screenings at the ZWRCN city location, the programmes have moved to the communities, with the first community event hosted by the Overspill clinic in Epworth where local women staff attended. The event offered the women in the neighborhood to brainstorm community based approaches to child protection and this opportunity was eagerly grasped. The power of film was displayed as women broke the silence on abuse in their communities and families. A moving moment during the discussion was when one of the young men present expressed his fear and anxiety for his daughter. A nursing sister at the clinic endorsed films as a perfect tool for teaching communities about the issues that threaten their well being.
While the ZWRCN-IIFF Women’s movement Building Dialogue Series has given women a platform to talk about their darkest fears, men have also become part of the dialogues by sharing visions of the kind of environment they want to raise their daughters. The Ghanaian short film KORJI which narrates the ordeal of women struggling to bring life into the world in a small village that is miles away from the nearest hospital aroused a lot of empathy with the male attendees. It stimulated a thought-provoking discussion around issues of maternal health in Zimbabwe.The Women's Building Dialogue:Film Dialogue is set to continue in Epworth with monthly screenings..