How female filmmakers are challenging stereotypes in Nepal

9 September 2021

Inspiring young female filmmakers are showing that a future where girls and women in all their diversity are equally represented in media and entertainment is possible, writes Plan International Nepal’s Shreejana Bajracharya.

Technology and films have always been dominated by cisgender heterosexual men. Because of this, the content of the films are also from the men’s point of view.
Following the launch of our research Representations of Women and Girls in Nepal’s Cinema we teamed up with Kipalaya Production to train 10 aspiring young female filmmakers to make films with a gender lens.

Young women produce films

The 10 young female filmmakers went through a month-long intensive filmmaking workshop. They were trained on scriptwriting, editing, subtitling, pitching, shooting, and practical training with a gender transformative approach. The young filmmakers were challenged by mentors on creating gender-friendly scripts with female protagonists.
Seven Girls Get Equal champions shared their stories of activism on topics such as child marriage, menstrual health and child trafficking to motivate and encourage them.

The aspiring young female filmmakers successfully developed the scripts, acknowledging the diversity and intersectionality of women and presented beautiful stories through 5 films.
We collaborated with Oscar International College for Film Studies and Film Development Board. The month-long workshop was a one-of-a-kind in its innovative approach towards engaging with young women to bring about structural change.

How did the participants react?

“This is the first time I met a filmmaker. I am thrilled I could share my story to them. I am surprised! They all are female. Now, I am hopeful to see equal representation of girls in films,” said Nelisha, 18.
“I have not seen a role model representing a youth activist like me in films. Hearing and meeting the female filmmakers, I am excited to see their films,” said Nisha, 23.
“For me, it’s a dream come true. If I was a director, I would make a film where young girls are performing stunts rather than hovering around boys. The films only show girls being weak and dependent on boys. This is not true at all,” said  Manju, 20.

“Girls and women are still misrepresented in media and entertainment. I am making a film that recognises the struggle of working women, respects intersectionality, and showcases the narratives of bold, confident, and independent women,” said Aashruty, one of the filmmakers.

“There is always a gap working with male members when it comes to discussing, scripting and executing things in films. I had the opportunity to work with an incredible group of young female filmmakers in Nepal who inspired me to tell my narrative. The opportunity to tell the stories of another strong woman made me feel empowered as a young woman,” said Mira, another of the filmmakers.

What’s next?

We support young people as drivers of change and are committed to strengthening youth and in particular young women’s voice and image in the media. 

We understand that information is power – but young people often don’t have access to it or are ill-prepared to interpret or make the best use of it. We will therefore increase our investments in facilitating partnerships between young people and media institutions to produce more relevant content for and with young people and to strengthen young people’s media literacy. 

We will influence and support the media to tell a more equal story to contribute to changing the perceptions about the capacities, attitudes, and roles of girls and young women.

Girls Get Equal, Youth empowerment, Youth in media