Women and transgender persons need more inclusion, parity in treatment and security in the movie industry, which is currently a totally male-dominated one, said panellists participating in a session on the second day of the International Conference on Gender Equality (ICGE) here in The Gender Park campus in Kozhikode.
Capital infusion into the industry is a male bastion, but this narrative is slowly being rescripted, they said at the session on ‘Need for Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Social Business Practices in Films’.
The situation can change only if women and transgender persons become part of every decision-making body in the film industry, said Bina Paul, film editor who is a two-time National Film Award winner.
“We have to redefine the metrics of success and throw out age-old ideas that women-oriented movies bomb at the box office,” she said, adding that in order for women and trans-persons to be in the reckoning a comprehensive database of them should be created.
Women and transgender persons coming to the field need to be properly trained so that they understand the market and become capable of producing gender-sensitive movies, said Bina Paul, Artistic Director of the ongoing International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK).
Referring to the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC), formed to protect gender rights, she said the forum wants women in the industry to be treated as a labour force having rights including maternity benefits and pension.
Rima Kallingal, artist and founding member of WCC, said the notion that women-oriented films don’t succeed is a myth. “It is just gas lighting, not at all true. Didn’t films like Uyare, Helen and The Great Indian Kitchen, succeed,” she asked.
The audience wants a well-made film, gender does not play a role there, she asserted.
Mini Sukumar, Assistant Professor in the department of Women Studies, University of Calicut, who moderated the discussion, said women filmmakers should scout for new forms of capital and tap into them. This will change the prevailing situation where women and transgender persons fall outside the ambit of the movie investing world.
Renju Renjimar, a trans-person who is a celebrity and bridal make-up artist, wanted WCC to include trans-persons also in their fold and treat them as equals.
Journalist, artistic director of Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, producer and author, Ms Smriti Kiran was of the opinion that women have to fight it out to become successful. “No one will come to their aid, they have to fight it all alone,” she lamented. She, however, added that It is a slow-burn process which requires effort and time.
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