Tomorrow in Los Angeles, hundreds of films from around the world by women living in Muslim majority and western countries, will be shown. These women’s voices will be added to a global discourse that usually lacks them. The Muslim Women’s Film Festival will be a part of a wider initiative to get these women’s stories heard by a New York-based charity called Women’s Voices Now.
The 98 short films in the festival (available online), focus on stories about and mostly by women and girls living in Muslim majority societies and those living as minorities around the globe.
The mixture of fiction and documentary films looks at the lives of Iran’s first female bus driver, two women married to the same man, and an all-female Tae Kwon Do group in Afghanistan.
The aim of the festival is to allow Muslim women to tell their stories by themselves through citizen journalism and the Internet, so their voices and perspectives register on the western public consciousness.
Catinca Tabacaru, a lawyer and head of Women’s Voices Now, says: “The content of the films is surprising to western audiences who are not used to seeing Muslim women portrayed as heroes and changemakers.”
The festival is not a one-off but a year-long campaign with focused events planned in other countries (a UK visit is in the works, too), beginning with the festival. The organization plans to travel to Muslim majority countries and show these films. Tabacaru says that the festival and campaign is not about fixing these societies but “creating a platform” for women’s stories.