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Did you know that out of all top 250 grossing movies in 2013, women managed 16 percent of the work contributed, including key positions like director, producer, writer, editor, and cinematographer roles?

Gender inequality is starting to be the next big global hot-topic, with campaigns such as HeforShe at the forefront of the UN Council providing a platform for discussions about how to bring men and women together to continue social progression as equals.

Crossroads Centre Beijing and several individuals are making leaps and bounds in giving Asia, and particularly China, a voice to use in this discussion. Their first project The China Women’s Film Festival held in 2013 was awarded Second Place in the Intercultural Achievement Award, a highly coveted award from the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that displays successful, forward-thinking international projects across the fields of education, participation, and economy, from a pool of 70 countries. The Second CWFF received the award and are using the grant to fund further festivals.

From this grant came the Second China Women’s Film Festival starting in Beijing from 22-30 November and continuing on to other major cities, which will again highlight the very necessary discussions needed in a range of social issues (education, immigration, sexual violence, among many others) while using the strict focus of showing only films directed by women as a catalyst for gender discussion and debate. We spoke with organizer Li Zhaoyu from Crossroads about the festival:

What is Crossroads Centre?
Crossroads Centre is a Chinese community space that aims to raise awareness for Chinese and international citizens about all kinds of social issues using a variety of cultural and artistic events.

Why did you choose to start a film festival?
The idea came from watching a documentary about a breast cancer survivor. Seeing this woman tell her survival story through the medium of film was a very engaging experience, and we were looking for a new method to interact with an audience, particularly a Chinese audience. The Internet and entertainment in China is becoming more and more popular so it seemed like the most ideal approach. Looking at many of the mainstream film festivals, we realized that there was a severe disparity in regards to female representation, so we constructed our festival in a way that promotes a strong female voice by only showing women directed films.

What is different this year in regards to the Second China Women’s Film Festival?
We have a lot more Chinese female directors involved with notable directors like Huang Ji and Wei Shiyu participating, as well as a wide international contribution such as Mariana Otéro and Claire Simon from France, Lynne Sachs from USA, and more. We are keeping our focus heavily on promoting a local voice this year to show that there are many similarities between the social problems women in China face as well as women of every other country. By using organically produced films we are also remaining as objective as possible about the various social situations in China, and allowing our audiences to gain an interest and construct their own dialogues in response.

What do you hope to gain by holding this film festival?
We hope people will see that the current view of social issues Chinese women face are a little limiting, especially from a foreign standpoint, and that there is actually a diverse and interesting discourse happening in the context of feminism in China. By showing these films we want audiences to see that what might be previously considered as a China only issue, is actually more a global issue with a strong upcoming Chinese voice in the mix.

Keep an eye on the Crossroads Centre events section for films to see, or check out their website here.

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Images: Courtesy of Crossroads Centre

Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog