Pakistan: Inter-University Film Festival ‘Violence is not our Culture’

Shirkat Gah

Shirkat Gah (SG) organized an inter-university film festival on Thursday, 3rd of March 2011 at the Ali Institute of Education, as part of its campaign titled ‘Violence is not our Culture’. This event also marked 100 years of International Women’s Day (1911-2011). The event was attended by university students, Civil Society and NGO members as well as people from all walks of life.

The film festival was a joint initiative of Shirkat Gah and WLUML-Women Reclaiming and Redefining Culture (WRRC) program and sought to dispel societal misconceptions regarding violence against women (VAW) and cultural and religious justifications for it.  Under Shirkat Gah’s assistance and technical guidance, students from four leading universities made short films on the prevalence of violence against women in our society and its various forms. Participating institutions included Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Lahore College for Women University (LCWU), Punjab University and Beacon House National University. These films raise awareness about gender based violence and advocate for the eradication of VAW among the youth of Pakistan through the medium of film-making.

The films were judged by a jury consisting of independent filmmakers and women rights activists. Ms. Bushra Mateen, Former Vice Chancellor LCWU was the Chief Guest upon this occasion. 1st prize was awarded to Mr. Atif from Punjab University while 2nd prize was won by students of LCWU. The film festival not only showcased the work of these students but also provided an opportunity to encourage and recognize the efforts of the students. Screening of each film was followed by an interactive question & answer session. Addressing the audience on this occasion, Ms. Bushra appreciated the efforts of the students. CEO SG Ms. Khawar Mumtaz also spoke about the prevalent misuse of culture to perpetuate violence against women in Pakistan and highlighted the efforts of the students in portraying various forms of violence through their documentaries and films.