Image of film festival logo posted to Shakti Society’s Facebook page.

New festival in Surrey focuses on women in film, both behind camera and on screen

Shakti Film Festival debuts online due to the COVID-19 pandemic

An inaugural film festival hosted by Surrey-based Shakti Society will feature Canadian films by and about women.

Submissions are sought for an online edition of the non-profit group’s debut film festival, for screenings held over two days, Oct. 10-11, in celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child.

Shakti Society organizers say they’re committed to empowering women, families and children through community forums, Shakti Awards, annual wellness days and other activities, and the Shakti Film Festival is their latest undertaking.

The society “has addressed the influence of media and films on violence against women and we will be focusing and promoting films that showcase women in strong roles as well as filmmakers who are often marginalized due to various barriers, like race, colour, finances, language, disability, sexual orientation and various health issues including mental health,” event planners say in a news release.

“We will be inviting film and media personalities as well as community leaders to engage in action-oriented discussions about the role that media plays in shaping society and how we as consumers of media also play a big part in creating our culture.”

The films will include one feature-length effort, a documentary, one short and one student film. In each category, a cash prize of $100 will be awarded.

People of all genders are welcome to submit films as long as a woman holds one or more positions of director, writer, cinematographer or producer. Also, films must include one of more themes of Violence Against Women, Political Participation of Women, Women and Environmental Challenges, Race/Gender/Identity, and Men and Boys as Allies. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 30, via https://filmfreeway.com/ShaktiFilmFestival-1. For more details, email shaktisociety2000@gmail.com.

The winning films will be selected by a panel of judges involved in film, women’s rights, and/or issues relating to culture and women’s rights. Winning filmmakers will be announced online.

Organizers of the festival are Shakti Society founder Sonia Andhi and fellow festival directors Alison MacLean and Niti Nielsen.

(Story continues below)

Last March, 14 women were given Shakti Awards during a gala dinner event at Surrey’s Bollywood Banquet Hall. The 20th annual event, timed with International Women’s Day, aims to honour women “who have displayed strength and excellence” in several categories, including academic, artistic, entrepreneurial, sports, public service and more.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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