The Role of Women

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Solar Mamas

60 min. | 2012 | Why Poverty?
FILM MAKERS: Mona Eldaief & Jehane Noujaim


Saturday, March 1 | 1:15 pm | Theatre 4


For more than 15 years, cameraman and ecologist John D. Liu has been working on Solar Mamas a film about the heroic efforts of one woman as she overcomes significant difficulties to become a solar engineer. The film follows Rafea, the second wife of a Bedouin in Jordan, who wants a better life for herself and her children. The Barefoot College takes uneducated women from poor communities around the world and trains them to become solar engineers to create power and jobs in their communities. The film shows their lives on the campus and how learning about electrical components and soldering without being able to read, write, or understand English is the easy part. Harder to negotiate is the pressure from Rafea’s patriarchal, unemployed husband who demands that she return home.
film website


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Camera Woman

59 min. | 2012 | Women Make Movies
DIRECTOR: Karima Zoubir


Saturday, March 1 | 2:30 pm | Theatre 4


Working as a videographer at weddings in Casablanca, Khadija Harrad is part of the new generation of young, divorced Moroccan women seeking to realize their desires for freedom and independence while honouring their families’ wishes. Mother of an 11-year-old son and primary breadwinner for her parents and siblings, she navigates daily between the elaborate fantasy world of the parties she films and the harassment from her traditionally conservative family, who disapprove of her occupation and want her to remarry. Camera Woman, shot in vérité style, follows Khadija on the job, at home, and with supportive women friends who are divorced and share similar experiences. As it unveils the issues that confront working-class Muslim women in societies now undergoing profound change, this film reveals that for Khadija the camera becomes a liberating force.
film website

World View Award, IDFA

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The World Before Her

91 min. | 2012 | Kinosmith
DIRECTOR: Nisha Pahuja


Saturday, March 1 | 4:00 pm | Theatre 2


In a Bombay hotel, 20 hand-picked contestants for the Miss India pageant arrive for a month-long beauty boot camp. Winning the title means instant stardom, a lucrative career and, for some, freedom from the constraints of a patriarchal society. Hindu fundamentalists view pageants as immoral and a symbol of Westernization. We visit a camp for young girls run by the Durgha Vahini, the women’s wing of the militant fundamentalist movement. Through lectures and physical combat training, the girls learn how to fight against Islam, Christianity and Western influences by any means necessary.

The World Before Her creates a lively, provocative portrait of the world’s largest democracy at a critical transitional moment. These young women represent opposing extremes but they share a common dream: to help shape the future of India.
film website

Best Canadian Feature, HotDocs

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