U.S. Consulate Sponsors Short Film Festival on Women’s Safety and Empowerment

U.S. Consul General Tom Vajda welcomes Sonam Kapoor, Anurag Kashyap, and Onir to a short film festival in support of women’s safety and empowerment. The festival was held at the U.S. Consulate in Mumbai in partnership with WIFT India.

Mumbai –  This evening the U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai hosted the finale to its short film festival in support of women’s safety.  The “Women’s Safety and Empowerment” film contest coincides with the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence” global campaign that takes place from November 25 until December 10.  Guest judges at the event included director/producer Onir, director/producer/screenwriter Anurag Kashyap, and actress Sonam Kapoor.  The Consulate partnered with Women in Film and Television (WIFT) India to hold the festival and finale event.

The grand prize-winning short film was “How Far Should a Woman Go?”  The second-place winner was “The Lives of Others: Kastoori.”  Third place was given to the film “Women’s Safety Begins at Home.”

Also, an audience-selected “People’s Choice Prize” was presented for the film “The Lives of Others: Kastoori.”

The Consulate received 60 entries for the film festival, and the top nine finalist videos were screened at the event.  Videos were crowd-sourced in the form of stories, testimonials, ads, public service announcements, and other formats to promote women’s safety.  This was the first time for the Consulate to organize a short film contest and film festival.

In opening remarks U.S. Consul General Tom Vajda stated, “Women’s rights are human rights, and the problem of gender-based violence is not unique to any one country.  It is an area in which concerned citizens can and should join together to raise their voices and take steps to end this scourge.”

Actress Sonam Kapoor said, “Over the years, the visual medium of film has played a very important role in changing the face of our society. It has also brought to light issues that for too long have been hidden behind the guise of tradition and culture.”

WIFT India Founder President Petrina D’Rozario referenced the ongoing 16 Days campaign saying, “Women make up a rather considerable percentage of the force in the film industry and we respectfully deserve equal opportunity rights.  This campaign by the United Nations to end gender-based violence reminds us all that women have the right to their choices.”

The contest videos will be available online soon through the Consulate’s YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/usconsulatemumbai