The first step towards setting up a Chapter of WIFT (Women in Film & Television) in India was announced on 24th October, 2010 at the 12th Mumbai Film Festival at an aptly titled panel discussion on ‘Emerging Women Filmmakers in India’.
The panellists at this forum included Nandita Das, Sooni Taraporewala, Anusha Rizvi, Leena Yadav, Sona Jain and Rajshree Ojha. Following the announcement, they signed up for the Chapter membership along with the other women present in the audience.
The WIFT Mumbai Chapter will be a membership-based organization. The main focus will be to give professional support, networking opportunities, and recognition to women in the film and media industry in India. Following in the footsteps of WIFT Chapters around the globe, the aim is to provide year-round professional development, leadership skills and production training for women in screen-based media. The programming will be based on research to meet the needs of the members and will constantly innovate and develop to cover a wide range of topics from scripting and production techniques to creating viable business plans and learning the strategies for pitching, funding and international co-productions.
Dedicated to advancing the professional development and achievement for women working in all areas of film, video and other screen based media, the not-for-profit WIFT International network comprises of around 40 chapters worldwide with over 12,000 members.
WIFT International provides networking and learning opportunities, scholarships, and a film-finishing fund as well as offering help and encouragement to women who aspire to work in the Film and Television industry.
Chapters must be in existence for over one year to officially join the WIFTI network, when a yearly fee of $2 per paid member is assessed as dues. In the first year, a probationary period allows emerging chapters to receive advice & counsel from the expertise of other chapters and the WIFTI Board of Directors. Chapters vary widely in size (over 2000 members to less than 100) but all chapters have an equal say within the WIFTI network. Membership is limited to Chapters, not individuals.
A Mentorship agreement is in place with the WIFT – Toronto Chapter to help set up the first Indian WIFT Chapter in Mumbai. “We have presence at all major worldwide film festivals, and MAMI’s Mumbai Film Festival is an exceptional opportunity for us to reach out to all the women working in the Indian film industry,” said Sadia Zaman, Executive Director, Women in Film and Television – Toronto.
“In these times there is a real need for women to connect across the world and form strong bonds. As someone who has a deep personal commitment to the accurate portrayal of women in film and television, it’s my hope that this new WIFT chapter will increase the support for women in the regional industry and ensure greater control over their own stories.”