It has been my dream to connect filmmakers from across the world - give them an opportunity to share wisdom, methods, and best practices. Ever since I started the community, Women Making Films - this has been my pivotal objective.
A socially awkward, anxious and sociophobic person like me, has practically zero chances of walking up to an established filmmaker and strike a charismatic conversation about community building. So I took to technology - what a boon it is indeed.
In my earlier post, I had mentioned that it has been a year since WMF was founded and so far I have interviewed several filmmakers with thought provoking questions specific to their style, films, and genre. The readers found it very engaging. My idea was to make female filmmakers' names a commonplace in conversation about cinema. Because often we notice how quick we are to quote a Scorsese or a Mani Ratnam, but not a woman spare a few names like Bigelow and Sofia Coppola, and it irked me. So I started the following series to change the mindset and put back women in conversation:
1) The Female Idol Blog Series: an interview that has about 10-12 questions which are answered via text - and is published on the site and distributed widely via social media.
2) In Conversation With Series: where filmmakers get candid and answer questions into a camera while I ask questions and record her answers. These are very impromptu and sincere.
3) Misguided Portrayal Series: cinema is sexist. Filmmakers are too, a lot of them - the misguided portrayal series attacks the sexism, misogyny, and gender-based violence in films - that propagate into real life, ruthlessly. This is of controversial nature and can get me into a lot of trouble - but I am unstoppable.
4) AMA With The Filmmaker Series: rather than asking all the questions by myself, I thought I would give the members of the community and the world at large, an opportunity to speak to their favourite filmmakers one-on-one. I would gladly do the toil of persistently being in touch with the filmmakers, or their managers while the members of the community just have to send in their questions - which would be curated and sent to the filmmaker. The latest one was a big hit - with the animator of Sita Sings The Blues, Nina Paley.
5) Everyday Feature Series: on social media, I have posted about long forgotten artists of the yester years and brought them back to life through their work. I have so far conducted various series on cinematographers, producers, sound designers, screenplay writers, casting directors, music composers, animators, editors, stunt women, makeup artists, and gaffers. Some of these filmmakers do not even have photographs of them online. I have posted about women from Africa, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Palestine, Russia, Turkey, Vietnam, Nigeria, India, and so many other countries. And some of the feature series include
and many more...
6) I also used technology to its optimum use by conducting the historic film festival of women made films in 10 cities across India in the span of 15 days. Aptly named as The First Festival, I got in touch with absolute strangers, my strength being just my conviction and a precarious amount of belief in community building. I sold them an idea that must be so ordinary and yet its lack is its very need. I sold them the idea that they could be behind an act of making a bunch of people taking time off of whatever they were doing, to spend it watching films made by women, exclusively. I am highly indebted to all those who supported me and hoping they would keep supporting me. I must point out at this point that I DID NOT SPEND ANY MONEY FOR THIS FESTIVAL. I have since conducted 13 film festivals all over India and even an International one in New York.
This is also a single event which the national media covered so fervently. As for me, it was a great feeling to manage all of this sitting in my bedroom - but a deeper grief struck me so hard. Why is this a big deal - when it should be as normal as a man making a film? Well, that's where years of feminist struggles come reeling into my mind and I shake the grief off to focus on what needs to be done to break the wretched glass ceiling.
None of this would have been possible without technology - literally none of this. And to think that there is just me, and my endless nights of insomnia and feverish enthusiasm that drives the entire community is a feeling of superlative elation.
Here's to women and cinema and here's hoping that technology would shrink the gap in bringing women together under one virtual umbrella.
This post was submitted in response to The Possibilities of Technology.