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Women with the cam

The Video SEWA, established in 1984 with women head load workers, vegetable vendors and home-based workers as its video production team, stresses the need to motivate, mobilise and strengthen women.


Can a vegetable vendor or a head load worker be a producer/director of an informative documentary film? Yes.

Films made by the Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) testify to this.

The Video SEWA, was established in 1984, with women head load workers, vegetable vendors and home-based workers as its video production team. With aid from the United Nations University and the Video Village Network, these women were trained in video production.

Identifying the role of communication in the lives of these poor women workers, the Video SEWA has reached out to the remote villages and slums of Gujarat. A majority of the SEWA members being illiterate, video becomes the most powerful communication medium for them. The SEWA stresses the need to motivate, mobilise and strengthen women.

The IVFest will feature 11 SEWA films, all conceived by women working in the informal sectors of Gujarat.

The most motivating work in the package is expected to be `A Journey from Rs. 7 to 4 lakh' (English, 1995), which portrays the success story of Nanuben, who had only Rs. 5 with her when she migrated from Ahmedabad. Now she sells utensils in the market. The film describes how she developed her work with loans from the SEWA Bank.

The Shri Gujarat Mahila Video Sewa Mahiti Communication Sahakari Mandali, a cooperative of Video SEWA formed in 2002, facilitates the production of educational programmes related to the socio-economic lives of self-employed women and the different services provided by SEWA to make women self-reliant.

SEWA films also help the unorganised sector in providing information related to different types of work.

The films are aimed at helping these women achieve progress.

`Kanya Ratna' (Gujarati, 1993-94), another major work in this section, handles the emotional outbursts of three girls belonging to three different classes of the society. Dharmista (representing the village and poverty), Purvi (symbolising the suburbs and the middleclass) and Shily (portraying the upper middle class) share their feelings, experiences and ideas.


These films showcase SEWA as an answer to the needs of women below the poverty line.

A woman's strength and capacity to lead her life well is the theme of `I am Shakthi' (English, 1995).

The film narrates the story of a self- employed woman, Hiraben Nanjibhai Vaghela, who developed her capabilities through active participation in the SEWA Academy.

The SEWA aims to organise and unite the informal sector workers through its films.

By displaying the views and opinions of leaders from various unorganised sectors through its films, SEWA discusses the problems of exploitation, low wages, lack of facilities and problems in social security faced by this community.

Sustainable employment is one of the serious issues handled in SEWA films. Meeting the infrastucture needs of the urban informal sector through micro finance is another area covered by SEWA films.

The Slum Networking Project (SNP) is shown in `Credit Connections' (English, 1997).

* * *

Malayalam rules

OF THE 225 video films to be screened at IVFest, 58 are in Malayalam. These include films by K. G. George, Mullanezhi/Priyanandanan, V. G. Thampy and Jude Attipetty.

Most of these videos highlight contemporary social issues and environmental problems.

The important Malayalam films to be screened in the fiction (competition) category are `Kabooliwallah' (M. Sajitha), `Agni' (K. R. Manoj), `When life follows, When life betrays' (Vinod Sukumaran), `Parayan baakki vechathu' (Jude Attipetty), `Munambu' (Rosy Thampy), `Mrugathrushna' (K. G. George).

The Fiction (information) category includes `Veronica of the passion' (V. G. Thampy), `Malapadakkam' (Mullanezhi/Priyanandanan) and `Koottilekku' (K. P. Sivakumar)

`Ethrayum yatha bhagam' (C.V. Sathyan), `The 18th Elephant 3- Monologues' (P. Balan) and `Devil worshippers' (Shiny Jacob Benjamin) are among the Malayalam films included in the non-fiction (competition) category.

In the non-fiction (Information) category there is a total of 21 Malayalam films including `Karimukil' (Manilal), `K. C. S. Panicker - A biographical sketch' (A. Prabhakaran) `Baburaj - A mind and myth' (Diana Silvester), `A story of deviation' (Manoj Nair) and a documentary on Mehboob (Diana Sylvester).

`Pesticide trap', `People's Periyar', `Things go bitter with Coco Cola' and `In quest of the frog mouth's nest' are documentaries that give thrust to environmental issues.

SONY V. MATHEW

RAJMOHAN SUDHAKAR

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