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Offer: Voice from the Muslim World

Millions of women around the world are disconnected from one another and unheard by the world. Speak up in the struggle for women’s rights. Tell your story. Tell her story.

$35,000 In Prize Money
-Open to everyone regardless of film experience, nationality, or faith
-4 categories: Documentary, Fiction, Experimental and Student
-Prize money for top 3 films in each category, top 3 Audience Choice films, plus 8 Honorable Mentions

Act
-Submit a film
-Tell your friends and colleagues about WVN
-Host a screening at a venue or in your home
-Watch multiple films to educate yourself and others
-Donate to the cause

Be Heard
-Our WVN on-line platform will get the message to millions of people around the world
-Film Festival in Los Angeles in February 2011
-Screenings across the globe
-Dozens of partners and supporters to help get your film seen and your message heard

Behind the WVN Film Festival

Women’s Voices Now is hosting Women’s Voices from the Muslim World: A Short-Film Festival giving voice to women of all faiths living in Muslim-majority countries and Muslim women living as minorities around the globe. The Festival is a unique project that highlights pro-women voices from within the Muslim world and presents an unfiltered and honest account of these women’s stories–the experiences that shaped their lives, the challenges that must be overcome before freedom and gender equality become the status quo, the struggle for freedom of expression and inalienable human rights, and the people who are making this transformation happen. The project will be realized in partnership with numerous organizations focused on film, women’s rights and/or Muslim issues.

Today, women in Muslim-majority countries still face many legal and cultural impediments to their basic freedoms and civil rights. However, a rift in this pattern is materializing and being felt on an international level. These women, along with Muslim women living as minorities around the globe, are showing an incredible capacity for transforming their communities from patriarchal societies–exhibiting the world’s largest discrepancies between the rights and welfare of men and women–into more open societies accepting of diverse religious, political and social standpoints. Both the pattern and the rift must be highlighted before an international audience in order to inform civil, economic and political decisions in every corner of the world. The WVN Short-Film Festival is a unique project that will highlight pro-women voices from within the Muslim world and present an unfiltered and honest account of these women’s stories–the experiences that shaped their lives, the challenges that must be overcome before freedom and gender equality becomes the status quo, and the people who are making this transformation happen.

The Festival, our blog and the forum which results aims to stimulate and energize the education, discussion and problem solving for the continuing exclusion of hundreds of millions of women in those still largely undemocratic communities where gender-equality is yet to be achieved. We aim to support the movement for reformation of extremist political systems and religious interpretations which deny women their civil, economic and political rights. Through direct and neutral information, honest and open communication, and the sharing of stories and solutions, we aim to help build societies that include women as equal partners, with justice and freedom for all. The international community will be exposed to direct information from women of the Muslim world and these women themselves will be able to known of the stories and lives of others, of the pain and successes of like women in other communities and to join these individuals and groups together in spirit, energy and support.

Filmmakers of any gender, nationality and religion are invited to submit films, but emphasis will be put on generating submissions from women living in Muslim-majority countries. Confidentiality and anonymity requests will be fully honored and security precautions have been implemented to protect the identity of filmmakers where this is a concern. Films admitted to the Festival will be available for viewing on the WVN website and top films, coupled with panels of speakers providing further insight and context, will be screened during an event at the Los Angeles Film School in March 2011 and in community screenings around the world. Cash prizes totaling $35,000 will be awarded to winners in several categories including Fiction, Documentary, Student Films and an Experimental category encouraging submissions of silent films, animated films, mobile films and photo montages, as well as films where the content outweighs the technical tools and skills of the filmmaker. The Festival is both an opportunity for filmmakers to gain international recognition and exposure in the filmmaking industry, and for individuals to tell their stories that transcend the rules of traditional filmmaking.

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