Continuing the Conversation: the Censored Women’s Film Festival
“We change people through conversation, not censorship” – Jay Z, in his 2010 autobiography, Decoded
Few issues are in greater need of a deep, critical and constructive conversation than the issues raised in the documentary film Honor Diaries. And yet the issues in this film and others – honor violence, forced marriage and FGM – have faced pushback, boycotts and censorship from groups trying to shut down the conversations – and the voices of abused women.
Since we released Honor Diaries in 2013, we have faced numerous attempts to suppress our production and ban screenings of our film on college campuses. These (at times, successful) attempts aim to suppress the voices of women worldwide who face institutionalized discrimination and violence, and do a disservice to the freedoms of speech and expression that we value so much.
“It’s very, very easy to break a twig or a stick. But when you bundle them together, you can’t break that.” – Raquel Saraswati, Honor Diaries
The power of a united coalition coming together to challenge the opposition, and promote these issues through film and action is so much more powerful than the efforts of any one individual. To counteract the widespread silencing of films about women’s rights, we decided to unite other filmmakers and women’s rights activists to present the first-ever Censored Women’s Film Festival.
Hosted by the Global Women’s Institute at George Washington University in November, this event will feature our film as well as other films including: The Price of Honor, Leyla Hussein’s The Cruel Cut, and the Academy Award-nominated film Persepolis. It will also feature keynote speakers and panel sessions to reflect on the films and discuss the direction and aims of the movement going forward.
One of the women in Honor Diaries, Nazie Eftekhari, has said that “the biggest human-rights crisis of our generation is the treatment of women in Muslim-majority countries, and we’ve applied a gag order to ourselves. We won’t talk about it” and asks, “Where are my fellow liberals? Where are the feminists?”. All too often, those who should be speaking out; the human rights activists, the liberals and the feminists, stay silent for fear of breaking some sort of cultural taboo.
But culture is no excuse for abuse and it is the voiceless women of the world who will suffer if we stay silent.
Help us make this film festival a reality by spreading the word and help us give voice to the voiceless.
**TICKETS WILL BE ON SALE SOON