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  • Consulate of Sweden in Mumbai & Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA) join hands for Samabhav Film Festival

    Published on April 12, 2019

    Mumbai: Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA), based in Mumbai and working for past 26 years to stop gender-based violence on women by engaging Men and Boys, in collaboration with Consulate of Sweden in Mumbai hosted the closing ceremony of Samabhav, (meaning Equanimity) a unique travelling film festival which toured the whole of the country. The theme of the festival was gender, masculinity and diversity. The first of its kind in India, film festival began in November 2018 at Hyderabad, and traversed to Goa, Delhi, Haryana, Lucknow, Shillong, Jaipur, Bhandara & Aurangabad (Maharashtra), Vadodara, Satara and Nashik districts and it culminated in Mumbai on 10th April 2019 at Hotel Citypoint in Dadar (East).The fest was held in 13 locations from November 2018 to March 2019, featured around 15 national and international short films, documentaries and feature films on gender. Samabhav revolved around the idea of ending the urge to change people- be it men or women, understanding gender and accepting everyone as they are without practicing any sort of discrimination. Films like, ‘Boys who like Girls’, ‘Any other day’, ‘Eli Eli Lama’, ‘Kharaki Kota’, ‘Juice’, ‘I am Bonnie’, ‘S Durga’ etc. were screened.

    Festival Director, Mr. Harish Sadani shared, “For a quarter of a century now, MAVA (Men against Violence and Sexual Abuse) has been engaging boys and men to lay the foundations for a society which is free from the shackles of gender abuse. The festival is unique in many ways, while there have been women-centric and LGBT-centric film festivals in various parts of the country, “Samabhav” tries to cover the lives and issues of all genders. So, there are films on gender discrimination and sexual harassment but also on toxic masculinity and its impact on men and boys. There are also films portraying the stigma and inhumane treatment faced by homosexual and transgender people.” At the closing ceremony, a special screening of short documentary was held which presented Samabhav’s Journey from Nov 2018 to March 2019 and the reactions of people who experienced the movie festival from various cities. Also, a panel discussion on ‘Breaking Gender Binaries, Building Bridges’ was conducted in presence of Mr. Björn Holmgren, Counsul at the Consulate General of Sweden in Mumbai, Mumbai Film Directors – Ms. Arunaraje Patil & Asiya Shervani, Gender and Social inclusion Advisor and Festival Director, Mr. Harish Sadani.

    The various films screened covered a wide range of gender matters – from various forms of gender-based discrimination / violence against women to homophobia and transphobia to challenging the male gender stereotypes and dominant model of masculinity.

    Mr. Björn Holmgren, Consul, added “Sweden is the first country in the world to pursue a feminist foreign policy. The overarching goal of the policy is that women and men are to have the same power to shape society and their own lives. In practice, this means a commitment to strengthen women’s economic power, combat violence against women, promote women’s role in peace processes and fight for sexual and reproductive rights. We use several different platforms, roles and tools for this to work, such as separate taxation, generous childcare provisions and shared, gender-neutral parental leave. Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA)’s mandate and work corresponds closely with Sweden’s work towards mainstreaming gender equality and the films showcased at the festival resonate with our vision to create a gender equal world.”

    While speaking at the panel discussion, Manohar Kabeer, Outreach director of Indian documentary foundation (IDF) shared, “Samabhav is a right platform for creating awareness on women rights and gender equality amongst college and university students. The selection of the movies at the film festival helped create a different perspective on the problems faced by women in our patriarchal society.”

    Aruna Raje, The First Women technician shared, “Women are struggling everyday to prove their worth and they are being questioned. These movies aim to change this outlook and and help bring a small change in Indian society in a way a Man looks at a woman.”

    The travelling film festival aimed to empower youths through healthy conversations with experts on contemporary gender issues and advocate for a healthy, pluralistic, gender-just society. The overall goal is to increase youth awareness of gender-based discrimination and violence through film screenings and facilitated discussions.  The participants represented Universities / Colleges that run under-graduate and professional courses in Arts / Commerce / Science / Management / Technology streams, members of civil society including those working on human rights and gender were invited.

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