Seeing Film “Through Her Lens”

Ms. Gould brings the filmmakers, Tanya Hamilton and Paola Mendoza, into the conversation via Adobe Connect
Ms. Gould brings the filmmakers, Tanya Hamilton and Paola Mendoza, into the conversation via Adobe Connect

On Tuesday, January 14, 2014, Meridian and ITVS hosted a screening and discussion of Through Her Lens: Three Short Films, as part of the Global Perspective Film Series. Created by women filmmakers, the films - which are part of the larger Women and Girl Lead initiative and include Good Country People, Not Another Word, and Half of Her –explore social issues facing women and girls worldwide through a character driven-narrative.

Good Country People focuses on Blossom, who is compelled to become her family’s primary breadwinner as a taxi cab driver in a poor rural community in Jamaica. Not another Word features a Middle Eastern family, in which three generations in a family conflict over their plans for the future of granddaughter Lama, who refuses to get married. Half of Her tells the story about a Chinese immigrant couple in New York, and the new mother’s struggle to safely give birth to her child, and to save her baby daughter, when her husband tries to force her to abandon the baby because of the child’s gender.

The screening was followed by a discussion and Q&A session with featured speaker Carla Koppell, Chief Strategy Officer, U.S. Agency for International Development. Filmmakers Tanya Hamilton, Good Country People, and Paola Mendoza, Half of Her, participated in the discussion remotely via Adobe Connect. ITVS’ Tamara Gould moderated the discussion and took questions from the floor.

The evening’s discussion centered on critical gender issues brought up in the films including inequality, gender-based violence and biases, and focused on the larger question of how the dialogue can lead to action. Ms. Koppell underlined the significance of tackling gender inequalities to achieve women’s empowerment and reiterated that we have to look at women not only as beneficiaries but as change-makers. She went on to emphasize the important of sharing the stories of women around the world through film and stressed the need for collective efforts to break the barriers facing women. In response to questions about their inspiration for making their respective films, both Ms. Hamilton and Ms. Mendoza also underscored the importance and value of telling women’s stories to counter gender-based biases in society.

Now in its fifth year, The Global Perspective Film Series, a partnership between Meridian and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), is a series of documentary film screenings, each focusing on a particular region of the world. These films provide insight into these regions as well as into issues of global concern, including gender inequality, the environment, and human rights.

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