JUST IN: Celebrates Culture & Navigation Of Storytelling To Ensure Cultural Shift Towards Equality For Women

Celebrates Culture & Navigation Of Storytelling To Ensure Cultural Shift Towards Equality For Women

Celebrates Culture & Navigation Of Storytelling To Ensure Cultural Shift Towards Equality For

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Women's International Film Festival (WIFFEN), has returned for a second edition.

The edition picks up where the 2022 left off – the exposition of information and platform for women filmmakers to thrive, to celebrating culture, and how to navigate storytelling to ensure a true shift from the negative aspects of culture towards equality – for both male and female.

Speaking at the opening, Creative Director, Girls Voices and Festival Director, WIFFEN, Carolyn Seaman, said:

“Culture has its positive side and its values. We are all products of culture, as we all come from one cultural background or other. It's important we celebrate that and that to our , and children's children in order to preserve our culture.

“But at the same time, we continue to speak and champion advocacy against the other side of culture, so we can create that shift that ensures we are moving towards equality for women. 

“It is also about how we navigate the space of storytelling to spotlight some of the dynamics of our culture, and making sure people are not disadvantaged because of the cultures that exist in our communities,” said Seaman.

Re-emphasizing the importance of celebrating culture via films, Founder and Director, Asa Heritage Foundation, Dr Oluwatosin Sogbesan, noted that Nigerian films lack accurate representation of cultures, owing to lack of in-depth research.

“The uniqueness in every story is on your understanding of your culture and the culture of the people you want to tell a story from. Oftentimes in our , they have representation of cultures where you have an Igbo family, and it is not even showing – our houses, attires, languages – the real trueness of our culture.

“(This is because) Some filmmakers don't want to extend the time to do the research in terms of ethical purposes; some because they don't understand the importance of deep research, and others just plain don't value it. 

“The way out is for to start documenting our culture as the only way to pass-on history. We have to start documenting our culture from different perspectives. At a time, we saw stories emerge only from a male viewpoint. They don't show the female or children's perspectives. Every history or identity story has different perspectives. So, we need to understand those different perspectives, and see how we bring them together, and making sure they're documented and seen via films.”

Receiving over 4,500 films from 140 countries, to ensure adequate representation, WIFFEN continentalized the festival screenings, beginning with Africa and Asia films on day one to North and South American films on day two, European and Oceania films on day three, and the awards night for day four.

Speaking post the Chinese film that was one of the opening films of the festival, Cultural Counsellor, Chinese Embassy and Director, Chinese Cultural Center Nigeria (CCCN), Li Xuda, stressed the importance of film in strengthening cultural understanding and exchange between Nigeria and China.  

He also noted the embassy's willingness to cooperate with the festival through the provision of capacity building skills in filmmaking for Nigerian women filmmakers in China.

“This is a great platform for people to exchange ideas. Also, it will be very helpful for cultural exchange and between our two countries. 

He said literary and film festivals have a way of strengthening people's understanding of one another. “We can understand one another better by watching each other's films, listening to each other's programmes and reading each other's books. Then, we can cohost cultural events. These ways the traditional friendship of the peoples of Nigeria and China will be strengthened,” said Xuda.

Women's International Film Festival Nigeria runs March 20 through the 23rd, and features diverse genres of films from over 140 countries, written, directed and produced by women. 

“We have been having one-sided stories out there, and we are hoping that with a platform like this where we celebrate films written, directed and produced by women, we will be able to see more stories, hear more voices of women around the ,” added Seaman.

WIFFEN 2024 is supported by the American Embassy Nigeria, and TIDES Foundation.

 

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