Vaishnavi Sundar, a Chennai-based actor, theatre artist and filmmaker, quit advertising and marketing to make films. Her online forum, Women Making Films (WMF), is an attempt to support women who are a minority in filmmaking. “Official statistics show only five per cent filmmakers are women,” she says, adding that WMF is holding its first film festival in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and other cities in September.
“WMF is a platform for filmmakers who identify themselves as women, to collaborate and use one another’s expertise. I intend to bring together members from all departments — cinematography, make up, music and VFX,” says Sundar. Since its inception about a month ago, WMF has attracted 1,500 people on its social media page and 40 members at present.
As an initiative popularised by the community, Directed By Women, USA, films made by women are being screened all over the world till September 15. In solidarity, WMF is hosting screenings in different cities in India under the title, The First Festival. “We have shortlisted 15 films from seven countries. These range from fiction to animation and documentaries,” she says. Participating filmmakers range from Hamaira Bilkis to younger names such as Ajita Banerjie from Delhi who has been documenting tribal issues. The films include Sandhya Ramachandran’s Oviyam, about four people and a painting, and their perceptions of fiction and reality. I Am Yet To See Delhi, a19-minute film by Bilkis, is about exploring a new city. The filmmaker discovers the soul of the city not in its museums and architecture but with her relationship with its people. Bublee Bejaan Prosthetics is a six-minute animation film by Ankita Kini that explores a world of mindless consumerism.
The film festival started in Thiruvananthapuram on September 1. The Delhi edition is on September 8 and 12 at Design Village in Noida. Hyderabad is on September 9, Kolkata on September 10 and 11, and Bangalore on September 12 and 13.
For further details, follow the group’s Facebook page.