Call for girl protagonists in films

Pakistani filmmaker Fouzia Minallah on Monday questioned the “branding” of Malala Yousufzai by the West, and pointed that it deprived her of her childhood. At an ‘Open Forum’ organised at ICCFI, she said what the West is making out of Malala cannot be ignored though Taliban’s oppression is to be condemned.

“When I heard of the attack on Malala, I cried and thought a lot about it, which resulted in my film on her. But I’m not sure if I would make such a film again,” she said.

The open forum with the topic ‘Gendered content: girls made invisible’ had four participants — Siddiq Barmak from Afghanistan, Virginia Limburger from Brazil, Vibeke Noergaard Muasya from Denmark and Rowena Martinez from Philippines apart from the moderator Jeroo Mulla.

Ms. Martinez, a specialist in children’s films, underlined the importance of training the filmmakers, and showed the example of erstwhile Soviet Union. “ Women would be shown in capable, independent, and important roles. Gorky Studio was set up exclusively for children’s films, and funding to it had legal mandate,”she said.

Scandinavian countries leave a lot to be desired with regard to women’s visibility in films, conceded Ms. Muasya, herself a filmmaker. Film institutes in Denmark have not produced films with female leads in ages, and it is a serious question to be pondered over not only by the institutes, but also filmmakers, she felt.

Mr. Bermak said cinema in Afghanistan suffered from centralised economy and open market. There is no government funding for films, and no big production houses exist, which makes funding very difficult, he noted. Hence, the filmmakers should depend on foreign NGOs or self initiative, particularly to produce films with gendered content.

Ms. Limburger, a film producer, had some good news when she said the director, writer and scriptwriter for her film ‘Taina- an Amazon legend’ were all women.

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