Power was the defining theme of the 14th edition of Flying Broom International Women's Film Festival. Each year, says Festival President Halime Guner, the Festival selects a theme — Women and Ideology, Bad Women in Cinema, Love, The 1980s among them — and finds a clutch of films that illustrate it. Since power and power relationships are pervasive and subtle realities present in all walks of public and private life, "power," according to the Festival catalogue, "creates a discourse, produces knowledge, manipulates and is pleasurable ... it ensures obedience through fear, and fidelity through promises." The six films in this section explored the nature of power — political, cultural and familial — in engaging ways.
The Festival is a major cultural event held by Flying Broom, a network of women's NGOs in Turkey, that has been working relentlessly to promote gender sensitivity and women's rights in the country. Says Guner: "The Festival has helped connect different strands of the women's movement and make it mainstream. We invite women's organisations working in a variety of fields to attend the festival."
The FIPRESCI Award, conferred for the sixth time, is given to a film from a section entitled "Each Has A Different Colour." It's an eclectic mix of films that highlight both contemporary and historical issues, often with a focus on women but problems that affect men in equal measure as well. Other sections — Stories of Child Brides and Understanding Human Trafficking — comprising features and shorts, turned the spotlight on issues that are prevalent in several countries: forced early marriages, stolen adolescence and prostitution. The excellent documentary package with a wide sweep of subjects, contained films that were far from dismal. Some were pumped with black humour, others were heroic stories of survivors and still others portrayed thoughtful, charismatic or peaceloving women who worked determinedly towards their goal.
In an effort to broaden the struggle for women's rights, and since young people are most receptive to change, the Festival was taken to three university campuses for the first time this year. "The idea," said Ahmet Acar, Rector of the Middle East Technical University, "is to merge the academic community with civil society ... and turn universities into a platform for women's agenda." (Latika Padgaonkar)
Flying Broom International Women's Film Festival: www.ucansupurge.org