In its third year, Hindi film ‘Soni’ won the Oxfam Best Film on Gender Equality Award at the JIO MAMI 20th Mumbai Film Festival with Star. The winner was announced at the closing ceremony of the festival.
‘Soni’, directed by debutant director Ivan Ayr and starring Geetika Vidya Ohlyan and Saloni Batra, explores the lives of two Delhi policewomen. The film shows how these two female officers react to the rise of sexual violence. The film is an attempt to understand the rage policewomen feel against the sexual violence in the capital of the country while at the same time being saddled with the responsibility to enforce and uphold the law.
“We are thrilled that ‘Soni’, a film with strong female characters, has won the Oxfam Best Film on Gender Equality Award. It is an important film and we hope this award will help the filmmaker take the film to a wider audience. The third edition of this award must encourage more filmmakers to make cinema that breaks gender stereotypes and norms. ‘Soni’ has been added to a diverse bouquet of films that have won the award--- Lipstick Under My Burkha and Village Rockstars. We want this list to keep increasing,” said Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar.
The filmmaker spent considerable time with the Delhi Police Department in order to understand the dynamics between various ranks of female police officers. He shot the film in real locations in Delhi and that added to the challenges he had to face.
“Winning the Oxfam Best Film On Gender Equality award is a big honour and brings a great amount of credibility to the film's intentions and its achievement. As a filmmaker it encourages me to continue to tell stories that are about the human condition and human experiences, oblivious to the gender of the character,” said Director Ivan.
The three-member jury of director Rima Das, director and screenwriter Anjali Menon and CEO of Doha Film Institute Fatma Al Remaihi selected ‘Soni’ from the eight films shortlisted for the Oxfam Best Film on Gender Equality Award 2018.
"Soni is a very hard hitting and realistic depiction of the constant dilemmas and more importantly, the rage that women feel towards sexual crimes. What the film also shows is the vulnerability of women police officers who have to be law enforcers at work but off duty are just like other women with fears and apprehensions of being potential victims. It’s a very topical film given the current narrative on gender dynamics,” said jury member Anjali Menon.
Speaking on the Oxfam Gender Equality category, Anupama Chopra, Festival Director, MAMI, said “We are in the 3rd year of our partnership with Oxfam and are extremely proud of what this platform has grown to represent. This year saw 8 films, directed by men, that showcased the nuanced portrayals of women onscreen. Juxtaposed was the Jury panel of truly powerful women who have been shaping the film industry not just in India but globally as well.”
Director Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s Bengali language film ‘Jonaki’ and National award-winning director Vasanth S Sai's film Sivaranjani And Two Other Women received special mentions in the Oxfam Best Film on Gender Equality Award category.
This year eight films were shortlisted for the Oxfam Best Film on Gender Equality Award. The films that were shortlisted this year were ‘Imago’, ‘Hamid’, ‘Soni’, ‘Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil’, ‘Light In The Room’, ‘Nathicharami’, ‘Sivaranjani And Two Other Women’ and ‘Jonaki’. Last year Rima Das' Assamese film 'Village Rockstars' had won the award.
ABOUT OXFAM INDIA
Oxfam works primarily through grassroots organisations to bring deep-rooted sustainable changes in people’s lives. We do this through long-term development programming and link it to positive policy changes at various levels. We work for the socially excluded and most marginalised communities by mobilising them to campaign for greater economic and social reforms. We use our learnings about what works and what doesn’t at the grassroots level, through research and advocacy, to bring about pro-poor changes in policies and institutions.
We see poverty as a problem of power, the lack of power. Our programmes are currently active in the critical states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh. We work with the most marginalised segments – Dalits, Tribals, Muslims, and Women. For them, poverty is more than lack of income, healthcare and education. It is a crippling state where these groups do not have any control in deciding the course of their own lives. They are excluded from basic decision-making rights.
Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI), India’s leading platform for cinematic disruption and discovery, was founded in 1997 by film industry stalwarts headed by Late Hrishikesh Mukherjee. The main purpose of founding the academy was to give India an annual international film festival which the film industry and the country can be proud of. MAMI is a change-agent emboldening theater, audiences and the industry in India to embrace the new, independent and the best of cinema that deserves to be discovered. 2018 marks the 20th year of the festival and the mission statement stated by the MAMI Board of Trustees in 1997 continues to be a reflection of the initiative, "We feel it is the need of the hour to disseminate and inculcate good cinema among Indian audiences. The only way to achieve this is to celebrate cinema by hosting an international film festival in Mumbai which is the birthplace of Indian Cinema) and its film and entertainment capital. MAMI (Mumbai Academy of Moving Image) is committed to start Mumbai's first independent international film festival organized by practicing film makers."
MAMI organizes the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star, an annual international film festival which engages film lovers from all walks of life across the city and country and aims to foster a climate of good cinema. For more information on MAMI, visit:https://www.mumbaifilmfestival.com/ . Apart from the Mumbai Film Festival,
ABOUT JIO MAMI MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL with STAR
Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star is the most immersive and comprehensive program that celebrates the diverse cinematic voices of our country through an international annual platform that instills pride in audiences and unites the film fraternity. The festival is organized by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI), which was founded by a group of film industry stalwarts in 1997 and was conceived and created with an aim to engage film lovers from all walks of life, and to foster an ideal climate of good cinema across the country by presenting the best of global and Indian cinema. The academy’s vision is to celebrate cinema by hosting the annual international film festival in Mumbai, India's film and entertainment capital.
Follow them on social media: Facebook: @MumbaiFilmFestival ; Instagram: MumbaiFilmFestival ; Twitter: @MumbaiFilmFest
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