Real women and genuine experiences

Real women and genuine experiences

We need festivals celebrating films on women.

Since women are still being ignored, disregarded and underestimated, even though they have established themselves in every field, the need for such festivals becomes more important.

“There is a need for women’s film festivals aiming to show disturbance over sexism in the movie and filming industry, dreaming about women’s participation in the cinema industry equally and freely, sharing the productions of women proudly, bringing women together and celebrating many of them,” said Melek Özman, director of the 16th International Filmmor Women’s Film Festival that took place in Istanbul last week.

She recalled that only 12 of the 151 Turkish movies that were shown in movie theaters in 2017 were directed by female directors.

The Filmmor Women’s Film Festival represents today’s women in the cinema industry as well as women filmmakers of the past.

The forgotten names in the history of cinema, such as Maya Deren, Forough Farrokhzad and hundreds of others and their productions, were remembered at the festival. We have, for this reason, acknowledged the history of cinema that inspires today’s new films and festivals.

“For a long time we were unable to watch Alice Guy-Blache’s works. The masculine cinema history pushed her to the footnotes of articles. We were able to watch her works only after she was rediscovered by second-wave feminism,” Özman said.

“Women’s film festivals carried out a pretty hard work to register Cahide Sonku as a director despite the biased masculine jury members. That’s why it is important to cast a glance at the history of cinema through a cinematic eye and to keep the records of today and to open the way for the future,” she added.

Different perspectives

The 16th International Filmmor Women’s Film Festival on Wheels will be touring across Anatolia within the scope of the festival spring now, after its leg in Istanbul concluded.

This year’s festival involves the masters of the 21st century.

There are several sections in the festival including “Women’s Cinema,” “Women are Everywhere,” “Sex-Gender-Sexuality” and “Good Films Make Good Neighbors” that compile films from close and distant neighbors. This year, the theme of the “Our Bodies Are Ours” section focuses on sexual harassment.

Four films by “image-maker” Fiona Tan, who records images onto both personal and political memories, will be shown.

Two discussion forums will be held with the headlines “Time’s Up: Sexual Harassment in the Film Industry” and “A Purse of Her Own: New Generation Women Producers.”

The section of “Feminist Memory” focuses on Kate Millett and Şirin Tekeli, a Turkish women’s rights activist and feminist writer.

When asked about the female characters in the festival, which are different than the ones depicted in mainstream cinema, Özman replied: “First of all, we really see characters.”

“We have been showing in-depth women characters rather than loosely written or incomplete characters that are positioned in a passive state or as just objects or subjects of conflict. They are living characters, not necessarily good or rebellious ones,” she added.

The uniqueness of feminist cinema relies on the fact that it does not have any taboos, Özman explained.

“We are able to watch real women and their experiences free from sexist taboos,” she said.

The 16th Filmmor Women’s Film Festival on Wheels will be travelling across Turkey, stopping in Antalya on March 23-25, in İzmir on March 30 Mart-April 1, in Trabzon on April 6-8, in Bodrum on April 13-15, in Mersin on April 20-22, in Adana on April 27-29 and in Diyarbakır on May 4-6.