Georgetown, April 7 – In PWDC’s continued effort to champion gender equality and women’s empowerment, PWDC are collaborating with KDU College on their first ever film showcase, ‘Flicks Fiesta 2015’. PWDC is sponsoring two awards: PWDC Gender Equality Award and PWDC Futures Award.  For category one, participants who create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) centered on or involving the theme ‘gender equality’ will be awarded the PWDC Gender Equality Award.

For category two, any work produced by female directors will be eligible to win the PWDC Futures Award for best female director.  By sponsoring  the PWDC Gender Equality Award for Flicks Fiesta 2015 Category 1, PWDC hopes to encourage more students to explore themes of gender equality in making their PSA. On March 14 and 28, PWDC held the GENDER SAVVY workshop sessions introducing gender equality and issues related to it with participants of KDU College Penang’s Flicks Fiesta 2015 workshops. Over 60 secondary school students participated in the GENDER SAVVY sessions. 

These students were introduced to the concepts of gender, gender stereotypes and discrimination, gender equality and the expectations society places on boys and girls. To many of them, this was the first time they encountered these issues.  For Category 2, PWDC hopes the PWDS Futures Award would attract more young ladies in universities and colleges to het involved in film-making, particularly in the director’s seat. This falls in line with PWDC’s objective of championing women’s empowerment. 

PWDC is supporting this project as they believe strongly in cultivating a media culture in which theme of gender equality and women’s empowerment are explored freely, instead of it being thought of a “women’s issue” or not popular.  It is a well-documented and researched fact that the film industry as a whole regardless of geography has a gender issue.  In a study of 120 global films across the 10 most profitable film territories internationally, found that the more female film makes, the more there was female portrayal on screen. Unfortunately, the numbers are not in favour of women. 

The study concluded that the “gender ratio behind the camera of 3.9% males to every 1 female. Females comprised 7% of directors, 19.7% of writers, and 22.7% of producers across the sample films and public service announcement or PSA. ” The study also found that sexualisation of female characters was rampant across the world and tellingly, the film also favoured characterisation of men in leadership and prestigious professions, with the percentage of women in those roles not above 15%. 

In today’s online media-centric world, it is important for us to tap into the pool of content creators and bring them the message of gender equality and women’s empowerment. With the knowledge and understanding of these concepts, content creators can utilities technology to further disseminate these ideas, hence using technology as a tool for change.  Some viral PSAs in the past year include “Slap Her” from Italy and “Always Like A Girl” from the US. By supporting local creative talents among your youth, YB Chong Eng hope that Malaysian film-makers would soon be creating powerful PSAs and films that inspire change. 

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