Jayakrishnan of firstname.lastname@example.org posted a comment on this blog on 17.1.2010:
Thanks a lot for Happy Journey. It was wonderful – my favorite from Kerala Cafe. I hope upcoming artists like you can answer the foreign delegate at IFFK who asked “Where have all the Malayali women directors gone?”. All the best!
Thank you Jayakrishnan. Very glad to know you liked HJ.
I am proud to be a woman; but in the term ‘woman filmmaker’ – I wish there was more focus on ‘filmmaker’ rather than ‘woman’. I hope that will eventually happen when I do more work in this field.
I do not know which foreign delegate you are referring to; but at IFFK 2009, I had an amusing experience where suddenly a gentleman rushed towards me with the French-Senegalese filmmaker Mama Keita in tow… his idea was to find the answer to the filmmaker’s query about women filmmakers of Kerala! Thanks to his good intention, I had a chance of sharing with Mama Keita the names of more prominent women filmmakers. But I could not deny that there were very few indeed.
Another instance was when the film critic and writer Daniela Bisogni asked why there weren’t too many women attending the festival. She mentioned on stage that she was happy that women had won competition prizes and expressed her hope that this would prompt more women to be part of IFFK as filmmakers and audience.
Yet another discussion took place over a breakfast table with Uma Da Cunha, the Indian film curator. Her observation was that when she visited Kerala homes, men rarely introduced their wives or made them part of any serious discussion- “oh… she’s busy in the kitchen” was apparently the quoted excuse.
After an open forum session, a young South African delegate had similar questions.
Fact is that “very few women filmmakers” is not just a phenomenon in Kerala- it is true of India and of the world. But since Kerala boasts of statistics like 100% literacy, a higher female-male population ratio, a matrilineal heritage in some Kerala communities, a higher educated female population than the rest of the country – they wonder why things are not different here.
When such people ask “WHY?” I rarely know where to start…
is it our history?
our social norms?
our role of woman in a family?
our education system?
but coming to think of it- dont we make all of the above??
“We” refers to you and me / man and woman / the people.
Isn’t it time we came up with some answers? Or is it time for us to be the change?