Amidst film festival season, this one advocates women’s rights

Just in time for International Women’s Day, a revolutionary new film festival has emerged—inviting you to smash the glass (ceiling) once and for all. The Smash the Glass Film Festival will run from Mar 1-29, and celebrate the stories of women from all around the world.

Organized by the Singapore Committee for UN Women, High Commission of Canada in Singapore and the European Union Delegation to Singapore, the festival seeks to highlight the empowerment of women in all settings, plus give recognition to the activists everywhere working to claim women’s rights. And it couldn’t come at a better time. With the recent spate of incidents prompting the global movement for safety, equality and justice for women, what better way to add fuel to a much-needed fire than through the impassioned call of art? Over the month, one film a week will be screened every Thurs—their common theme being that they’re stories of empowering women, gender equality, feminism, diversity and inclusion.

Driving with Selvi (Mar 1)

Elisa Paloschi’s documentary, which took over a decade to complete, follows child bride Selvi who ran away from her abusive marriage—and eventually became South India’s first female taxi driver. Selvi herself will be present at the post-show discussion; it’s not every day you get to meet such inspiring, courageous real heroes in the flesh.  

Little Wing (Mar 8)

Why do so many daughters feel the need to chase after the neglectful fathers who walked out on them? In this Finnish-Danish family drama, a 13-year-old girl (Linnea Skog) is frustrated by the erratic life with her single mother (Finnish pop star Paula Vesala), and decides to go on a quest to find her birth father. The film was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016, and eventually won the 2017 Nordic Council Film Prize. The trailer alone gives us Lady Bird vibes; nothing like a co-dependent mother-daughter duo to get you feeling the feels.

Amplify Her (Mar 15)

It’s no secret that female DJs face judgment (no matter how warped) in their workplace. In this biographical documentary, three rising stars in the electronic music scene come to head with their exploration of the feminine, in a time and industry that perhaps don’t fully understand it. The conversation continues at the after-party at Kilo Lounge.

Noces (Mar 22)

Director Stephen Streker’s coming-of-age story follows 18-year-old college student Zahira who has to deal with far too many stressors—her traditional Pakistani parents, an unexpected pregnancy, and the age-old concern of making your own life choices. This film is also part of the Francophonie Festival running in tandem.

Women in Film: Cut Fest (Mar 29)

Did you know only 13% of film directors in the world are female? Wrapping up the festival is a selection of short films from Singaporean female filmmakers that are no less significant in Smash’s agenda. The selection includes works like Poets on Permits, Wu Song Slays the Seductress, and Inganeyum Oru Katha, among others, to bring to light the under-representation of women in the film industry.

As part of the festival, attendees are also invited to participate in post-film dialogues with the film directors and select actors, who will be flying down for this important event. There will also be an after-party open to all on Mar 15, with female music performers as the headlining acts.  

Frankly, we’re tired of hearing men in Singapore argue that women get just the same amount of rights—especially when they fall back after on the grossly overused National Service line of reasoning. The glass ceiling exists here, whether it’s in creative industries like film or the “manlier” trades of business and finance; and refusing to acknowledge that benefits no one.  

It’s time to get #woke, and if you aren’t comfortable with that, you and your toxic masculinity are more than welcome to leave.

Smash the Glass Film Festival is happening Mar 1-28 at various locations. Tickets and more information available here