WIFFEN Unapologetically Biased In Prioritising Women Film Makers – Seaman

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Carolyn Seaman

Mediaage NG News – ABUJA, Nigeria

Founder, Creative Director, Girl Voices Initiative, the organisers of Women’s International Film Festival In Nigeria (WIFFEN), Carolyn Seaman said the festival is unapologetically biased in centring its priority on females, “going by the history that women have experienced in the country”.

The Festival Director said the idea of the biannual event is to create a platform for women film makers to connect and grow their importance in the film industry.

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“WIFFEN is established to create space for female film makers to connect, share and explore collaboration. Another goal is to connect with industry experts and stakeholders to discuss key issues affecting female film makers in the ecosystem – issues like how to access funding, content distributors and how to navigate some of our challenges”, she said at the opening day of the festival on Wednesday in Abuja.

The Nigerian film industry is mostly dominated by the males, often key decision makers. It makes it difficult for women to hold sway in the sector.

“In this festival, we are having conversations around screen writing and how do we improve and access opportunities to tell our culture? She asked.

“The film industry is still largely male dominated, especially when it comes to key areas of leadership in terms of who are the people that drive the money in the industry? Who are the people that access the opportunities in the industry? We still have men there, which is okay. We don’t have a problem about that, we just need women in that space as well .

“We want opportunities flowing equally to men and women. We are also thinking about issues that affect women in this space, specifically directing opportunities to women .

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“Yes, we have men in the festival who attended . We celebrate them because they are our male champions. We believe that they are here to celebrate us too. We are not that kind of feminists, we don’t have a problem with men in this space . We are just looking for ways to work together and leverage on one another.

She said WIFFEN has been working with young women to produce films watched in some countries that some of the ladies don’t know even exist.

“We thought how can we take this learning that these women have had to another level? That’s what inspired us to start the Women International Film Festival In Nigeria. In 2022, we had over 3000 script submission from over thirty countries and that immediately told us that women are looking for a platform like this. They were excited to connect and bring their creativity to the fore”, she stated.

Lee Xuda, Director, Cultural Centre, China, while revealing that the Chinese film market is open for Nigeria, said the West African nation is famous for its Nollywood movies, having produced many films. “We hope to work more together in the future”, he stated.

“This film festival will create a platform for people to communicate, know and understand each other, strengthening our partnership and progress. We will do our best to support you and you are always welcome to China”, Mr Xuda concluded.

Madhuri Koushik, Engineering Leader, Netflix said WIFFEN is a celebration of not just cinema, but “incredible talents and resilience of women in the film industry as we come together to celebrate stories of women to inspire, empower and provoke change”.

Koushik added that In a world where women’s voices have been marginalised and silenced, WIFFEN serves as a platform for women to amplify their voices and spotlight their experiences.

“This is testament to the progress that we have made and a reminder to our inquest in achieving gender equality in the film industry and beyond”, she disclosed..

“Let’s explore the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of women from different cultures and backgrounds globally. Let us recognise the importance of representation on screen and behind the camera and the impacts had on changing perception on future generations and fostering empathy”, Koushik added.

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