When a crisis knocked me down and out, I built a community

Vaishnavi Sundar
Posted July 31, 2016 from India
Women Making Films
'Women Making Films', a not-for-profit organisation aiming at creating a platform for female filmmakers to unite, collaborate and create films that work as a medium to express progressive and rational content.

Around this time, last year my personal life took a catastrophic turn. Friends turned foes and relationships ended for no fault of mine. I was forced to rebuild my life from scratch undoing every little memory that would haunt me, from the past six odd years. I was afraid beyond my wits. The familiar escapism of dissociation ensued - where I'd pity 'this girl' for having a hard time, while I went about my life as usual. Drinking my coffee, reading the news and getting on with my apparently non-problematic life.

But the tiniest of things triggered me in unexpected ways, so the resilience I had built over time, albeit by denial, went purposeless and I ended up in a mess, all over again. This can't be okay - right? Something needed to be done.

Adding to my personal situation, I have been screaming to a world of disinterested ears about the obvious misogyny in our system irrespective of the profession one pursues. I had quit my job and wanted to pursue filmmaking. And because this doesn't require my usual 9-5 model, I had a lot of time to ruminate. I had experienced difficulty in pursuing filmmaking without having to deal with patriarchal suppression and it would be fair to say that I wasn't giving it my best shot. I lacked support.

Now, one could sit and cry, or stand up and do something, even a little thing. So on July 28, 2015 - I started a community for women filmmakers from all over the world - 'Women Making Films'. I would like to think that the crisis I was facing in my personal life, found itself a purposeful channel. When a person is pushed to an extremely dark corner of their lives, they either become one with the darkness or find means to light a match. Pride isn't the word that comes to mind when I look back - it is humility and satisfaction.

It has been a year since the community was started and I couldn't be happier to share the news with the world. It has been a very lonely journey - but I seek my inspiration from the women who are long gone, struggling to achieve gender equality. I look forward to seeking more meaningful collaborations and expanding the community globally!

Comments 14

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Julie Collura
Jul 31, 2016
Jul 31, 2016

Vaishnavi,

Thank you for sharing your story! I, too, have been feeling discouraged. Your story has inspired me and given me greater hope for the future. Let's keep connecting and collaborating through the arts!

Best wishes,

Julie

Vaishnavi Sundar
Jul 31, 2016
Jul 31, 2016

Absolutely, Julie. To sisterhood! :)

helen.ng
Jul 31, 2016
Jul 31, 2016

Thank you for sharing your personal experiences and their relevance to your contributions to the community. It's great to hear how 'Women Making Films' is able to inspire women to share their voices and express themselves.

Congratulations on how far you've come on your journey! I look forward to hearing more about your future endeavours.

Vaishnavi Sundar
Aug 01, 2016
Aug 01, 2016

Thank you, Helen. Means a lot. If you're interested, you can follow the community's work online. Facebook.com/WomenMakingFilms :)

Kingsley Obom-Egbulem
Aug 01, 2016
Aug 01, 2016

What an awesome story you've got Vaishnavi. And that is the good thing about challenges sometimes-it gives birth to destiny and opens that often elusive path to finding fulfilment.I always that perhaps the worse thing that happened to mankind is not the devil..it is Patriarchy and all its offsprings-sexism,misogyny all of which contracts sharply from the ideal reflection of masculinity and manhood. But please don't give up on us...there is a new sound coming. A new generation of men who would trump patriarchy and everything it represents. The US election is giving us a good sign and thanks to the DNC the who world is learning albeit the hard way that it no longer a man's  world after all...and brute force and bullying is only a weapon fancied only by the weak.

I wish you guys at WMF all the best.

Kingsley

Vaishnavi Sundar
Aug 01, 2016
Aug 01, 2016

Thanks, Kingsley - appreciate your kind words. But patriarchy is not gender-specific - so we need women, who have bought into the patriarchal bargain, to break the shackles too. Yes, the news in US certainly sounds promising - and let's hope it goes all the way progressively, till the end.

There are no 'guys' in WMF ;)

V

Avera
Aug 01, 2016
Aug 01, 2016

Hi sister, life is always a struggle and lots of challenges. Know that, it is in the mist of all those struggles and challenges that you will find your true self, purpose and passion in life. Believe me dear, those  relationships were not based on truth and love. If they were, they wouldn't have failed in the first place. To me, you were stuck in some web. The truth is after taking yourself out of that mess, you have grown bigger and a better person. You have taken your life a million steps ahead because, building a community is not an easy job. If you were still in those relationships, you probably wouldn't have been thinking in that direction.

I can only wish you the best in promoting the film culture and look forward to attending one of your film festivals someday.

Sincerely,

Avera

Vaishnavi Sundar
Aug 01, 2016
Aug 01, 2016

Thanks, Avera - if you would like to conduct one in Cameroon - I'd be more than happy to help you with that. After all, filmmakers are everywhere :)

Safecity- Elsa D'Silva
Aug 01, 2016
Aug 01, 2016

Hi Vaishnavi, that's a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing. Am glad you were able to create a community and harness its power. Would love to chat further. Am Mumbai based. You?

Kind regards,

Elsa

[email protected]

Vaishnavi Sundar
Aug 01, 2016
Aug 01, 2016

Hi Elsa,

Mostly out of a suitcase, but have a home in Chennai :)

JANEKALU
Aug 04, 2016
Aug 04, 2016

Hi Vaishnavi! good to hear your story,i share in your encouragement.The world is truly filled with ups and down it's only the courageous one"s survived it. I wish you more grace to carry on in your film making endeavor.

Thanks

Jane Kalu

www.gwandgei.com

Vaishnavi Sundar
Aug 05, 2016
Aug 05, 2016

Hi Jane, how lovely it is to hear encouraging words from powerful women all over the world :) It is overwhelming, thank you so much! May the sisterhood prevail :)

Bim Adegbite
Aug 04, 2016
Aug 04, 2016

Awesome!!!

Women are so desperately needed globally in film to tell our stories.  I'm so proud of the work you do and look forward to the unfolding of you wonderful journey.

Go on with your beautiful and amazing self!

Bim

Vaishnavi Sundar
Aug 05, 2016
Aug 05, 2016

Thank you so much, Bim - each and every one of you are making this fight more and more meaningful. Thank you for this solidarity :)