International Women's Day Film Festival: Short Films About Women Artists

International Women's Day is celebrated in countries throughout the world with festivals, parades, and special events. Hostelling International is bringing the celebration to Boston with the International Women's Day Film Festival.

The mission of the Boston International Women's Day Film Festival is to promote a greater understanding of the extraordinary lives of women around the world through relevant and thought-provoking films and discussions.

This is the second year of the festival, sponsored by Hostelling International. The goal of this festival is to showcase films honoring the struggles, victories, and remarkable experiences of women around the world. Through this event, we aim to celebrate the lives and contributions of women from all corners and walks of life.

For a full festival schedule, please visit our festival website.




Exposing Homelessness (USA, 2006, 20 min)

Exposing Homelessness documents the experience of three formerly homeless women who participated in a three-month photography workshop. Drawing from their personal experiences they were asked to use photography to express their insight into the issue of homelessness so that viewers could be exposed to a more intimate and profound analysis of the problem. Diverse in age, race, class and citizenship status, the women succeed in challenging the homeless stereotype and empowering themselves in the process. The women's technical and artistic skills develop as well as their confidence and kinship. They critique photographs while using them as a way to analyze the problem of homelessness and share their individual stories. The relationship and intimacy that grows between the women over the course of the workshop proves to be a healing and powerful experience for the women and holds a vital message for the viewer.


Singing Pictures (India, 2005, 40 min)

For generations, Patua (Chitrakar) communities of West Bengal, India have been painters and singers of stories depicted in scrolls. The Patuas tell the stories of Muslim saints (pirs and fakirs) as well as Hindu Gods and Goddesses, and offer devotion to saints at Muslim shrines. In the past they used to wander from village to village, receiving rice, vegetables and coins for their recital. They would unroll a scroll, a frame at a time, and sing their own compositions. But competition from other media eroded this way of life and now the Patuas are trying to adapt to changing conditions.

In response to this cultural crisis and as a means to make extra money, recently a group of women from Naya village near Calcutta formed a scroll painters' collaborative. The film follows their daily lives as they paint, sing, cook, tend to their children and meet with the cooperative. They discuss the problems and rewards of practicing their art, and speak freely about the social, religious, and political changes in the village and the world beyond. Their wisdom, artistry, and good humor amidst many difficulties illuminate the lives around them.

The women candidly discuss issues of Islam and birth control, victimization of women, female education, poverty and work, religious tolerance and intolerance, and depict some of these ideas in the scrolls themselves. Women painters want to tell their own stories in songs and pictures, illustrating their lives of hardship and endurance. These stories attest to what it means to be a woman in Bengal and India today, demonstrating how a small group of determined women can empower themselves by adapting an ancient art to new conditions.


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