Empowering Women Through Film


    Empowering Women Through Film


    Empowering Women Through Film


    Empowering Women Through Film

Women International Film Festival 2019


Women Through Film, with the generous support of the European Union in Pakistan, hosted Women International Film Festival 2019, the third edition of the film festival from March 4th – 9th, which provides a platform for female filmmakers to showcase compelling and evocative stories of women.

This year WIFF was able to expand its programming to become a multi-day festival. The first 5 days was dedicated to a Sidebar of European Films where feature films directed by female filmmakers from the EU were screened. The closing of the festival on March 9th saw the main headliner event, the film competition where 14 selected short films were screened. This year’s themes wanted to tackle the pertinent issue of child abuse and sexual harassment, while also capturing stories of remarkable women and men who lend a helping hand in the struggle for equality and empowerment. Films were received from all around the world, and the ones selected fared from Bulgaria, France, India, Iran, Pakistan, Spain, Sweden and the United States.

A panel on Fostering Cultural Diplomacy through Cinema discussed how film is and can be used to depict culture and shift perspectives within society. Moderated by Shamoon Hashmi, the panel was graced by the likes of documentary filmmaker, Haya Fatima Iqbal; TV producer and director, Nida Fatima Zaida; and the EU Ambassador to Pakistan, Jean-François Cautain.

The Winner for WIFF19 was Till the Sun Comes in the Sky by Alexe Landgren from Sweden. The First Runner Up prize went to Pava by Vaishnavi Sundar from India, while there was a tie for the Second Runner Up which went to Déjà Vu by Nasim Foroogh from Iran, and Blatten by Begonia Randhav from Sweden. Seema Farooq from Pakistan also received a special mention for her film The Untold Story.

The closing was also marked by a dance performance by Komal Jamil to raise awareness about mental health, and a music performance by a local band comprising Laraib Talat and Anas Raja.

To commemorate International Women’s Day, WIFF19 also organized an Open Mic Night on March 8th where local artists and talent took to the stage to share their thoughts and stories on issues ranging from abuse, body shaming, sexual harassment, to the #MeToo movement through the medium of poetry, music, spoken word, and mime.

Continuing its efforts for capacity building, the second edition of the Parwaaz Lab was also conducted. This year the lab was 3 days long focusing on scriptwriting for short films. Gabrielle Kelly, the Irish filmmaker and trainer from last year reprised her role to mentor 10 aspiring filmmakers and writers and will continue helping them write their short film script in the coming months.


Winners of WIFF 2019

Women International Film Festival

Empowering Women Through Film

Our Journey

To fill a huge gender gap in the field of storytelling using digital media and film, mainly due to lack of awareness and opportunities for women, a movement to encourage and facilitate them in using self-expression, storytelling, fiction, and citizen journalism through filmmaking to raise their voice and create social change, took birth. We call it Women through Film. While battling the ailing independent film appreciation among the wider public, and supporting to celebrate the work of women filmmakers, came into existence Pakistan’s home-grown Women International Film Festival (WIFF), as the flagship initiative of Women Through Film. WIFF19 is going to be a five-day event showcasing films received by filmmakers from around the world on the themes of Helping hands, Child abuse, and Sexual Harassment, in the form of short films, documentaries, public service announcements, and animated films.

Women International Film Festival (WIFF) 2018

With the support of the European Union Cooperation in Pakistan, Women Through Film hosted Women International Film Festival film 2018 that screened some of the most resonant and thought-provoking films made by talented independent filmmakers from around the world, purveying important messages on gender equality, women & child rights, and telling stories of inspiring women.

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The main event comprised of a grand film screening, besides panel discussions and live performances, followed by a reception/hi-tea. The first panel discussed how safe spaces can be created for women in politics using the medium of film. This was started off by screening Tanzeen Bari’s 30-minute film Matkay pay Thappa followed by an engaging discussion with the filmmaker herself, Sehar Tariq (representative of Shireen Rehman), and the panel moderator Ms. Rukshanda Naz (gender and women rights activist). The second panel was centered on self-empowerment of filmmakers featuring two of our talented filmmakers Ibrahim Rana and Namra Nasir, whose films were showcased at the event, along with the Irish film trainer Gabrielle Kelly who was one of the trainers for the Parwaaz Film Lab.

The film festival closed with the prize distribution, with Fatima Hussaini from Tajikistan, winning first place for her film Screaming Silence. Namra Nasir from Pakistan secured second place for She for Her. Third place was awarded to Suruchi Sharma from India for her film The Dusk. The evening concluded with a musical performance by Dania Adil and Mubbashir Sheikh.

As part of the capacity building component, WIFF held the Parwaaz Film Lab where shortlisted filmmakers had the opportunity to learn ‘The Art of Cinematic Storytelling’ in a day-long lab from film experts from Europe.


Women International Film Festival 2017

The first of its kind Women International Film Festival was successfully kicked off on 11th of March 2017 at the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) in Islamabad. The two-day festival took place during the women’s week, featuring 17 films by amateur filmmakers from Pakistan and around the world. Films came in from countries including Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Malaysia, Nigeria, UK and Mexico.

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A panel of venerated judges from within the media world judged the films on the basis of set criteria. These included New York-based producer and director Marilyn Agrelo, Pakistani documentary film-maker and journalist Haya Fatima Iqbal, Pakistani TV and film director Anjum Shahzad, UK-based human rights activist Mandy Sanghera and renowned Pakistani film and music video director Yasir Jaswal. On the first day, a panel discussion was held, with guest representation of prominent figures including Aaron Haroon Rashid, Jamal Shah, Sadaf Raza and Naima Ansari, highlighting the role of women in film, and importance of promoting female voices in the industry.

The second day featured a panel discussion with eminent guests including Mishi Khan, Shamoon Hashmi, Kanwal Naseer, and Halimah Tariq. This was followed by a Q&A session with the audience that promoted a healthy exchange of ideas regarding using film as catalyst for social change in the form of women empowerment. The discussion regarding the dire need for women empowerment in Pakistan was not only enlightening but also inspiring.

The panel discussion was followed by the much-awaited announcement of the top three winners, with Ashique Mostafa from Bangladesh, winning first place for her film: Statement after My Poet Husband’s Death. Shikha Janet Alagh, from India, secured second place for Deaf Ears. Third place was awarded to Sangeeta Nambiar, from Malaysia, for Rahayu: Her Road to Freedom. To top it off, the evening was concluded with an invigorating musical performance by Mizraab Khawar, the lead vocalist for an underground band.



Backbone of WIFF19

  • Madeeha Raza

    Founder & Curator WIFF

    Madeeha Raza

  • Gabrielle Kelly

    Advisor WIFF

    Gabrielle Kelly

  • Kisa Fatima

    Programs & Communications Director

    Kisa Fatima

  • Saba Adil Malik

    Creative Head

    Saba Adil Malik

  • Ali Raza Sadiq

    Project Lead

    Ali Raza Sadiq

  • Fareeha Shadab


    Fareeha Shadab


Festival Venue

Pakistan National Council of Arts

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