The empowerment of women and the full exercise of their rights comprise – alongside other aspects – a series of development gauges for regions and countries in such a way that the equality of rights between men and women is admittedly fundamental towards a far-reaching progress within society. If we expand the very meaning of female and male beyond sexual differences and the concept of gender beyond binary categories we are able to apprehend that a society which safeguards legal and civil rights to every citizen and, most importantly, warrants the exercise of such rights, is without a doubt a better society for all individuals and not merely for certain social groups, as intolerance and violence so often would like us to believe.
Mass media plays a crucial role in this process. Images produced, reaffirmed and publicized featuring men and women contribute to determine the roles men and women must play within family, work, politics, etc. And, on the contrary, the disruption of such labels and the promotion of positive and diversified images from diverse social groups and genders contribute to the full exercise of rights and practices, whether in education, family, work, politics, access to means of production, and so on.
Cultural and cinematic events, by promoting films and cultural products that deal with and call for more equalitarian and fair practices, increasingly encourage products within such topics. By fostering the emergence of new producers and directors and/or continuity in their careers, they provide the audience not only with debates on such matters but also thematic media on civil rights, human rights, sexualities, the struggle against intolerance and violence, the audiovisual representation of bodies, among others.
Femina - International Women's Film Festival reaches its 11th edition in 2014.
Throughout these years, Femina has supported the work of women in cinema and culture, stimulating the emergence of new directors and the presence of women in the audiovisual market, encouraging the production of films with female protagonism, and has especially served as a meeting place for audiovisual professionals and others to discuss women's production and gender relations.
This year we received circa 800 films to select from 76 countries, from which 73 films shall be screened from 31 different countries, divided among an International Competition, a National Competition, and special sessions such as Children's Programming, Male-Female, Sharing the Bill, What I Like is Women, Experimental Program, and National and International Special Programming.
In its opening screening session Femina 2014 exhibits the film MY RED SHOES, by Sara Rastegar.
As we have done in previous years, we hold a Tribute Session to a female personality in our national cinema. This year we have the honor to pay a more than deserved tribute to one of the great Brazilian female directors, LUCIA MURAT, whose career is marked by experiences of political activism and by strong female characters, as can be witnessed in the film here presented, A MEMÓRIA QUE ME CONTAM, where she works as director, screenwriter and producer.
Completing our lineup, we have the Femina Seminar, which for this year brings the theme Audiovisual and Gender Relations, bringing together three films that dialogue with these issues and fostering a debate with filmmakers and specialists concerning the image of women, public policies, professional insertion, women in contexts of risk and violence, and female protagonism.
We thank the collaboration of all persons, companies and institutions that have supported us in achieving another edition, and we invite all to follow the Femina 2014 activities.
Paula Alves and Eduardo Cerveira
Femina Institute for Culture and Citizenship