Film Festival Catalogue - 2nd MenEngage Global Symposium

Aug 17, 2014 - It was a pleasant surprise, then, in the course of my work towards this film festival, to come across a TED talk by ...... worked as an illustrator, and ...... Best Short Film Award, Asian Festival of First Films, Singapore. Best Short ...
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FESTIVAL TEAM CURATOR Smriti Nevatia FESTIVAL DIRECTOR Uma Tanuku FESTIVAL CO‐DIRECTORS Aaradhana Kapur Kohli Manak Matiyani FESTIVAL ASSISTANT Afrah Shafiq BLOG & SOCIAL NETWORK Manak MatiyanI Priyanka Chhabra Uma Tanuku POSTER & BROCHURE DESIGN Manak Matiyani Centre for Health and Social Justice PRESS COORDINATION Anupama Srinivasan VOLUNTEERS Iram Ghufran, Subasri Krishnan Reena Mohan, Anupama Srinivasan Navdeep Sharma, Vishrut Singh, Pushpa Rawat, Akshika Chandna, Satendra Singh 2

CURATOR'S NOTE Uma Chakravarti, renowned feminist historian and filmmaker, was invited to speak in my city last month on Sexual Violence in Contemporary Indian Society. In the course of her talk she recollected wryly how various men, catapulted to overnight expertise on the TV talk shows that followed the infamous gang rape in Delhi in December 2012, were suddenly intoning the word “Patriarchy” like they had just discovered it. It was as if all the decades of discourse by feminists, and the struggles by women's groups against the said Phenomenon, all the movements, all the books, had been breathlessly awaiting this moment of male endorsement. I do not think Prof Chakravarti was exaggerating. Her remark was true in spirit, if not letter. Very many women were invited to participate in those media discussions, and their voices were heard, night after night. Even the shrillest of male anchors seemed actually to defer to their knowledge and experience, for a change. But it is really that “for a change” that is the trouble with Patriarchy, whether critiqued by the minority of men who believe in gender equality and justice, or perpetuated by the majority who don't. With the country and the world for some reason shocked out of their usual apathy in the face of unending gender-based violence everywhere, the fact that women were briefly given their due does not mean that men, historically, have NOT been dismissive of women's experiences; it does not mean that they have NOT routinely appropriated women's scientific discoveries and ignored their artistic accomplishments. It does mean that men need to understand that men may take the credit (or blame) for the invention of the ancient, oppressive and even now internationally popular system of social organisation called patriarchy; they may not lay claim to the discovery of patriarchy as an explanation for much of what is wrong with our world. It was a pleasant surprise, then, in the course of my work towards this film festival, to come across a TED talk by Jackson Katz just a day or two after attending Prof Chakravarti's lecture. The author and educator, known for his pioneering work in gender violence prevention, says, “Women built these movements…that are affecting in a positive way everybody, not just women and girls but also men and boys. Oftentimes men like myself get a lot of credit and public acclaim for doing the work that women have been doing for a long time. So one of the ways in which we can use the spotlight is to thank women and honour women's leadership, going forward today, tomorrow and into the future.” Those words bear remembrance and repetition as all of us, people of different professions and different genders, in different parts of the world, using similar or different means, do the tough and rewarding work of undoing patriarchy in our communities and in our own lives. (The Jackson Katz talk is, happily, part of this film festival. I believe it has been widely translated, and those wishing to use it in non-English-speaking settings might try sourcing it in their preferred language.) The task of putting together this festival presented unusual challenges. I was looking mainly for films that focused on men and boys. Of course, most films do. Popular cinema is so maledominated that “women-oriented” films are singled out for honourable mention but for an event called Men and Boys for Gender Justice, I was not exactly in search of big screen wonders that would miserably fail The Bechdel Test (to pass, a film must be able to tick“yes” on three simple questions: