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India’s four ‘Ambassadors’ join TIFF’s ‘Share Her Journey’ campaign

Ambassadors

Special Correspondent

Malti Sahai

Toronto: Alongside eleven international women film professionals, directors Rima Das, Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta, and actor-producer Priyanka Chopra will globally champion female filmmakers, through the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) ‘share her journey ‘ Initiative.

Launched in 2017, the Share Her Journey campaign is TIFF’s ‘five-year commitment to increasing participation, skills, and opportunities for women behind and in front of the camera’. The Share Her Journey ‘Ambassadors’ — 15 women with outstanding talent and mettle — have joined the campaign.

“TIFF is delighted to welcome Rima [Das] on board as an Ambassador for our Share Her Journey campaign. Her remarkable body of work and passion for championing equality makes her an excellent choice to help us support women in film and move the dial towards gender equity throughout the industry,” said Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director and Co-Head of TIFF.

Incidentally, the festival gave Das her international breakthrough when it premiered her film ‘Village Rockstars’ which in addition to its unprecedented festival run, was India’s Official Entry to 2019 Oscars. The young filmmaker from Assam would like to see more and more women in the industry break the glass ceiling. “It’s a huge honour to be a Share Her Journey Ambassador. “Through this platform, I would like to bring together voices of people of all genders and collaborate to champion the cause of equality”, she said.

Of all Festival titles in this year’s lineup, at the  Toronto International Film Festival, 36% are directed, co-directed, or created by women, and women comprise half the Festival’s programming team. Following the organization’s signing of the 50/50×2020 pledge at last year’s Festival, TIFF has steadfastly worked to integrate responsible data management and practices to understand the diversity and inclusion of its film programming. As part of TIFF’s ‘Share Her Journey ‘ campaign, the organization will continue to provide over 120 female creators free access to TIFF’s Industry Conference and year-round programming. The overall number of speakers at this year’s Conference represents a 50/50 gender split, as do TIFF Talent Development initiatives such as TIFF Studio, Filmmaker Lab, and TIFF Rising Stars.

Many of the most interesting offerings at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival are also all directed by women.Toronto International Film Festival 2019 roster proves, there’s still more than enough valuable and interesting work to be found — if you care enough to look for it. Half of the movies on the festival’s Gala lineup have female directors, a record number for the festival, with more still featured in the Special Presentations and Documentary categories. And as stated in Variety while those numbers would be encouraging on their own, the breadth of storytelling reflected in these films is what makes this year especially exciting.

On this list, you’ll find animated comedies (Abominable), celebrations of real-life heroes (Harriet), LGBTQ-focused dramas (Portrait of A Lady On Fire), coming of age stories (How To Build A Girl) supernatural romances (Atlantics), explorations of identity (Hala), and family sagas (Blow The Man Down). Marielle Heller’s biopic about Fred Rogers and his friendship with journalist Tom Junod (A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood) sits right alongside Marjane Satrapi’s adaptation of a graphic novel about Nobel Prize-winner Marie Curie (Radioactive). There are three films from India by Women Directors. Gitanjali Rao’s directorial animated feature film Bombay Rose,The Sky is Pink Directed by Sonali Bose  and Moothon (The Elder One) by Geetu Mohandas.

Some of these films are in English, others in French, Arabic, or Hindi. They follow men and women of different nationalities, religions and ethnic backgrounds. But all of them tell stories you won’t want to miss out on.

TIFF is known as a gateway to the Oscars. Kathryn Bigelow remains the only woman to ever win the Oscar for best director in the history of the Academy Awards. TIFF with the ‘Share her journey’ initiative is set to square the pitch on all platforms.

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