Shooting a documentary is always an intense creative exercise. There are days where you work for 18 hours, interview dozens of people, attend thousands of events…you plunge into other people’s life, embracing their experiences and metabolizing them in order to shape them for the screen.
There are hundreds of debates, and you take advantage of every single pause in order to make the most of a topic, an image, or a detail that has made the whole thing take a different course. Late dinners, an exchange of views taking place at dead of night…with time stretching and your body feels the strain of it all whereas your mind is excited with the growing passion as you feel your baggage is full of great stories. Shooting a film in Africa, in Mozambique, and on gender violence, makes it all even a more penetrating experience. A couple of months have passed since we came back from the shooting, and the images, the voices, the testimonies of the witnesses are still very vividly present in my mind.
medicusmundi mediterrània has been closely working for more than two years with Forum Mulher, the biggest network of bodies fighting for women’s rights and particularly against gender violence in Mozambique. Hand in hand, we’ve been able to organize the production work needed to shoot such a documentary, with all the difficulties inherent to the topic.
We’ve been able to interview women experts who have told us how deeply violence is rooted in the social, cultural and historical construction of Mozambique. How, on many occasions, tradition is deviously used to justify abuse and violations of human rights. How legislation, still under the influence of the colonial period and the markedly conservative nature of the current governments, discriminates women. How the resources allocated to the prevention of rights violations, the attention to and the restitution of those rights, in the cases of women suffering gender violence, are practically inexistent.
We’ve also been talking to victims of violence. Women from all social classes who have told us all about their lives and the hell they’ve been through. Some of them managed to extricate themselves from the circle of violence. Others didn’t. All of them agree on the little support they received. Their testimonies, their faces, the movements of their hands when talking, made it crystal clear, that they were the real cases of this social scourge. What we know so well in terms of theory, became indeed embodied in the experiences of those women.
And we were able to see a glimpse of light and hope upon learning of this new generation of women who, through their art, contribute to show to the society that times are changing and that they are now role models for thousands of young women who see in the former the current ideal from whom to draw inspiration. Female jurists, women writers, mothers, female entrepreneurs, women rappers, women poets, female social activists… powerful, passionate female fighters.
This is a little foretaste of what our new documentary will be about. We hope we are thus doing our bit to help fight gender violence. We will soon be able to give you more information on its premiere in festivals and the availability of accessing it on the webdoc we are preparing at the moment.
Ivan Zahinos Ruiz
International Relations Co-ordinator
*Translated from Spanish to English by Sílvia Aymerich