Following the great success of the previous years, Women in Film and Television Greece (WIFT GR) and the Greek Film Archive present the 4th 50/50 EQUALITY IN CINEMA WIFT GR FILM FESTIVAL, which will take place between 25 and 29 November 2020, on the occasion of the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), under the auspices and with the support of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sport, and under the auspices of the Hellenic General Secretariat for Family Policy and Gender Equality.

Due to the pandemic, the Festival will be held on line, at the screening platform of the Greek Film Archive online.tainiothiki.gr. On line admission is free. The Board of Directors of WIFT GR wishes to inform the public that, while safety is always our priority, we firmly believe in the significance of culture’s contribution to society, particularly during such difficult times; therefore, we decided not to cancel the Festival.

Violence against women – psychological, sexual and physical violence, the most extreme case of which is femicide – is a global scourge. Sexist beliefs and misogynistic practices cross geographical, cultural and class borders. We must react decisively and urgently. WIFT GR and the Greek Film Archive dedicate this Festival to the effort for the elimination of violence against women. We wish to contribute to raising awareness with regard to this major issue, as well as to empowering practices. We invite you all to watch films with us, but also to think and act, now!

THE FILMS

The Festival consists of 5 feature-length and 14 short films, Greek and international, fiction and documentary, of diverse styles, offering a wide range of approaches to women’s gaze and experience, and focusing on the subject of gendered violence. Five of the short films are proposed by WIFT GR partners.

Burning issues address the feature-length films of the Festival:

*HVA VIL FOLK SI / WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAYby Iram Haq (fiction, Norway, Germany, Sweden 2018, 106 min)

Sixteen-year-old Nisha lives a double life. At home with her family she is the perfect Pakistani daughter, but when out with her friends, she is just a Norwegian teenager. When her father catches her in bed with her boyfriend, Nisha’s two worlds brutally collide. To set an example, Nisha’s parents decide to kidnap her and place her with relatives in Pakistan. There, in a country to which she has never been before, Nisha is forced to adapt to her parents’ culture.

*DESERT FLOWER by Sherry Hormann (fiction, Germany 2009, 127 min)

Like in a fairy tale, Somalian-born Waris Dirie became one of the world’s most sought-after top models. Born into a family of goat-herding nomads, Waris’ fascinating path would take her from the Northeast African deserts to the world’s most prestigious fashion runways and magazines. At 13, Waris fled forced marriage and crossed days of desert alone before reaching the Somali capital Mogadishu. Relatives soon shipped her off to London to work as a servant in the Somali embassy, where she spent the rest of her adolescent years in illiteracy. When faced with the threat of returning to war-torn Somalia, Waris finds herself homeless and illegal. Spunky shopgirl Marilyn takes Waris in and becomes a trusted friend. While working in a fast-food restaurant, Waris is discovered by star photographer Terry Donaldson, and ambitious agent Lucinda guides her transformation into a working model. But behind the glamorous facade of Waris’ new life lies a deeply heart-stirring fate. Despite her success, Waris remains burdened by a violent childhood secret. At the height of her career, Waris reveals to the world that she was a victim of female genital mutilation. Her story unleashes a wave of sympathy and controversy, and Waris decides to dedicate her life to fighting this barbaric tradition.

*TED OY MIS OJOS by Icíar Bollaín (fiction, Spain 2003, 109 min)

One winter’s night, a woman, Pilar, escapes from her house. With her, she takes just a few things, and her son, Juan.  Antonio is soon on her trail. He says Pilar is his sunshine and what’s more, she “gave him” her eyes…Throughout the film, the characters struggle to rewrite a strict set of family norms decreeing who’s who and who does what.  They’re based on all the wrong notions. Where it says “home”, read “hell”; where it says, “love”, there is pain; and where those norms promise “protection”, they really mean “terror”. Te doy mis ojos is Pilar and Antonio’s story, but it is also about the people around them: a mother who condones the situation, a sister who does not understand, and a son who sees all but says nothing. The city of Toledo, with its artistic splendour and historical and religious importance, adds yet another dimension to this story about love, fear, control, and power.

*A BETTER MAN by Attiya Khan & Lawrence Jackman (documentary, Canada 2017, 79 min)

On a hot summer night 22 years ago, 18-year-old Attiya Khan ran through the streets, frightened for her life. She was fleeing her ex-boyfriend Steve, who’d been abusing her on a daily basis. Now, all these years later, Attiya has asked Steve to meet. She wants to know how he remembers their relationship and if he is willing to take responsibility for his violent actions. This emotionally raw first meeting, filmed by Attiya with Steve’s consent, is the starting point for A Better Man. The rough footage also marks a new beginning in Attiya’s own recovery process—as well as an important starting point for Steve. For the first time ever, he speaks of the abuse and cracks opens the door to dealing with the past. Illuminating a new paradigm for domestic-violence prevention, A Better Man offers a fresh and nuanced look at the healing and revelation that can happen for everyone involved when men take responsibility for their abuse. It also empowers audience members to play new roles in challenging domestic violence, whether it’s in their own relationships or as part of a broader movement for social change.

*PRIVATE VIOLENCE by Cynthia Hill (documentary, USA 2014, 80 min)

Private Violence explores a simple, but deeply disturbing fact of life: the most dangerous place for a woman is her own home. Every day in the US, at least four women are murdered by abusive (and often, ex) partners. The knee-jerk response is to ask: ‘why doesn’t she just leave?’. Private Violence shatters the brutality of this logic. Through the eyes of two survivors – Deanna Walters, a mother who seeks justice for the crimes committed against her at the hands of her estranged husband, and Kit Gruelle, an advocate who seeks justice for all women – we bear witness to the complicated and complex realities of intimate partner violence. Their experiences challenge entrenched and misleading assumptions, providing a lens into a world that is largely invisible; a world we have locked behind closed doors with our silence, our laws, and our lack of understanding. Kit’s work immerses us in the lives of several other women, as they attempt to leave their abusers, setting them on a collision course with institutions that continuously and systematically fail them, often blaming victims for the violence they hope to flee. The same society that encourages women to seek true love, shows them no mercy when that love turns dangerous. As Deanna transforms from victim to survivor, Private Violence begins to shape powerful, new questions that hold the potential to change our society: ‘Why does he abuse?’, ‘Why do we turn away?’ and ‘How do we begin to build a future without domestic violence?’

Multifaceted viewpoints offer the short films of the Festival:

*TESTING GRETA by Abbie Lucas (fiction, UK 2017, 11 min)

When a woman is admitted to a private clinic under extremely awkward circumstances, the nurse tries to deal with her flamboyant behaviour with patience and professionalism. It’s only when the need of a blood test arises, that things take an unexpected turn. TESTING GRETA tells a story that is equal parts darkly comic and heartbreaking. Our intention for this film is to raise awareness for the types of abuse that women face that are often overlooked or misunderstood. We want to help dispel the stigma surrounding this and also encourage those affected to seek help.

*KUUNTELE / LISTEN by Hamy Ramezan & Rungano Nyoni (fiction, Denmark, Finland, Columbia 2015, 13 min)

A foreign woman in a burqa brings her young son to a Copenhagen police station to file a complaint against her abusive husband, but the translator assigned to her seems unwilling to convey the true meaning of her words. A tense, diamond-hard film about cultural isolation and bureaucratic ignorance.

*WHAT’S THE DAMAGE by Heather Phillipson (experimental, UK 2018, 7 min)

WHAT’S THE DAMAGE is a proposition and a provocation; a call against dominant power structures answering back to ongoing crises under white patriarchy, relaying and augmenting feelings and gestures of chronic unease, protest, and dissent. Spoken word and digital fluidities give Phillipson’s summons and riposte vital form through representations of livid, female bleeding, rising up against leadership circle-jerks, over-groomed toupees, environmental catastrophes, weeping vortexes, scorched orangutans, animal-fat banknotes, and advancing super-moons, pizzas, and drones.

*THE END OF SUFFERING (A PROPOSAL) by Jacqueline Lentzou (experimental, Greece 2020, 14 min)

Sofia is under a panic attack, again. The Universe decides to contact her, inviting her to another-worldly dialogue. A planet symphony for Mars, where people dream wide awake and fight for love.

*GOADS by Iris Baglanea (fiction, Greece 2020, 15 min)

Ira lives with her family at a remote location within Greece. She will face one of the strongest experiences of her childhood during a “training” session with her father, who has a very specific view for life.

*BELLA by Thelyia Petraki (fiction, Greece 2020, 24 min)

Just before the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, at the end of the Cold War. Everything is changing in front of Anthi’s eyes and Christos seems to be changing, too. BELLA is the story of a moment in time recreated as if in a feverish dream where fiction and documentary overlap perfectly, creating a striking and emotional cinematic universe.

*37 DAYS by Nikoleta Leousi (fiction, Greece 2018, 23 min)

When Maria, a young pregnant woman is fired, she goes on a birth strike. A short film about a dream set in Athens, Greece.

*THIS IS RIGHT; ZAK LIFE AND AFTER by Gevi Dimitrakopoulou (documentary, Greece 2020, 13 min)

The voices of Zak Kostopoulo’s community in a film about her, life and the after.

*ΤHE INVISIBLE THEATRE AS A MEANS OF STUDYING GENDER VIOLENCE – A SOCIAL EXPERIMENT by Nikoleta Indopoulou & Athanasios Xatzis (documentary, Greece 2019, 5 min)

The film is part of the MA Thesis of Nikoleta Indopoulou, supervised by Maria Kladaki and defended at the University of the Aegean. The shooting was done with a hidden camera in the island of Rodos, where students staged scenes of gendered violence between heterosexual couples. The passers-by where unaware that the scenes were staged.  The experiment investigated the tolerance of the public to gendered violence. It concluded that the majority of people don’t intervene. 

In the frame of partnerships of WIFT GR with other organisations, a few more thought-provoking shorts will be screened:

Global Girl Media presents:

*WAITING IN AN ENDLESS LINE by Globalgirls (documentary, Greece 2020, 5 min)

Produced by a cohort of refugee and Greek young women, this film details the life of a refugee in stark black and white: an endless line of waiting. Also features an original song sung by one of the Globalgirls.

*LITTLE MOTHER by Globalgirls (documentary, Greece 2020, 6 min)

A personal, even humorous account of Atta, a child bride from Syria, who is now in Athens, separated from her husband and children, determined to realise her dream of becoming a lawyer.

*ESCAPE TO JUSTICE by Globalgirls (documentary, Greece 2020, 7 min)

A searing account of one young refugee woman’s harrowing sexual assault by her smuggler, which inspired her to draw, paint, and eventually find the strength to speak out about the abuse and neglect of women on the move, even from the police and NGO’s who are supposedly there to help.

 

The “Bridges” Peloponnesian International Film Festival presents:

*THE DAY AFTER by Dimitris Christodoulou (fiction, Greece 2016, 16 min)

She is daily abused. What will she do?

The Women’s Rights Association “To Mov” presents:

*CORONAVIOLENCE by Alexia Tsouni (animation, Greece 2020, 6 min)

During the COVID-19 lockdown, an immigrant woman, along with her minor children and witnesses, resorts to the Police Station to report domestic violence. She is expelled, under the pretext, among others, of the coronavirus. A true story, unfortunately, which happened in Athens in March 2020. Fortunately, solidarity had the last word.

AND A ROUND TABLE

A round table will take place on Saturday 28 November at 19:00 online. Researchers and university professors, feminist activists and representatives of women’s support structures will discussion the topic of the “For the Elimination of Violence Against Women”.

— THE DISCUSSION WILL BE HELD IN GREEK —

Violence against women – psychological, sexual and physical violence, the most extreme case of which is femicide – is a global scourge. Sexist beliefs and misogynistic practices cross geographical, cultural and class borders. We must react decisively and urgently.

Researchers and university professors, feminist activists and representatives of women’s support structures will present various theoretical and practical aspects of the topic.

The speakers will be:

Ahena Athanasiou, Professor of Social Anthropology, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, “Not One (Woman) Less: The Persistent Intersectionality of Gender Violence”

Anastasia-Sasa Lada, Architect, Professor Emerita in Architectural Design, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, “No Shelter, No Law (Sans toit ni loi): The Gendered Gaze and the Objectification of the Female Body”

Maria Komninos, Professor Emerita of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, President of the Board of Directors of the Greek Film Archive, “Images and Discourses of the Violence Against Women on the Screen: The Case of Greek Cinema, 1932-2019”

Diana Manesi, Social Anthropologist, Researcher at the Centre for the Research on Women’s Issues “Diotima”, “The Representation of Domestic Violence in American Cinema: Violence, Male Gaze and Female Sexuality”

Carmen Zografou, Filmmaker, Co-Director of the Feminist Autonomous Centre for Research, “Feminist Tools and Practices Applied to the Filmmaking Production Process”

Christina Papadimitriou, Social Support Counsellor at the Athens Counselling Centre for Women G.S.F.P.G.E., “Narrative as Telling and as Reason for Change: Transformation through Counselling for the Victims of Gendered-Based Violence”

Alexia Tsouni, Founding Member and Member of the Editorial Board of the Women’s Rights Association “To Mov”, “Solidarity: The ‘Lifeline’ for Women When All Else Fails”

The discussion will be chaired by the President of WIFT GR, Rea Walldén.