Future directors showcase their films at the UNiTE Film Festival and Empowerment Workshop in Alexandra

Director of UNIC Helen Hoedl, speaking and the event and giving a message of support

Director of UNIC Helene Hoedl speaking at the launch the UNiTE to End Violence against Women Film Festival and Empowerment Workshops at the Olive Tree Theatre Space in Alexandra, Johannesburg, 1 March 2014, organized by the Department of Arts and Culture and the UN Population Fund

Johannesburg, 1 March 2014 – On a rainy Saturday morning at the Yarona Community Centre in Alexandra, Johannesburg, young people, representatives of government, civil society and international organizations, gathered for the Film Festival and Empowerment Workshop for the UNiTE to end violence against women campaign which aims to raise public awareness for preventing and ending all forms of violence against women and girls in all parts of the world.

In collaboration with the Department of Arts and Culture and with the support of UNFPA, future young directors from the Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking screened their short movies to a crowded parterre.

The six young directors are presented by the chair

The six young film directors and moderator at the launch the UNiTE to End Violence against Women Film Festival and Empowerment Workshops at the Olive Tree Theatre Space in Alexandra, Johannesburg, 1 March 2014, organized by the Department of Arts and Culture and the UN Population Fund

Director of the United Nation Information Centre Helene Hoedl, spoke at the event and gave a message of support.

‘Violence against women is a huge problem’ says Ms. Hoedl, ‘this violence knows no borders and it affects women and girls of all ages’, she added.

In the world one in three women experience physical or sexual violence, millions of women and girls everywhere are assaulted, beaten, or even murdered. ‘This situation is intolerable, we must change’, asserted Ms. Hoedl.

A final group picture!

Group picture at the launch the UNiTE to End Violence against Women Film Festival and Empowerment Workshops at the Olive Tree Theatre Space in Alexandra, Johannesburg, 1 March 2014, organized by the Department of Arts and Culture and the UN Population Fund

Taking action three young women who directed three short movies about young girls and women experiencing events of rape, violence and discrimination in order to raise awareness and engage with the community to start to openly speak about gender-based violence.

Participants received the short movies with great enthusiasm and interest. ‘We need to engage with men, in order to solve this problem’ says one of the directors, ‘they need to be part of the conversation’ added a young girl form the audience. The young men present at the event agreed on their crucial role and suggested jointly actions, for women not to be victimized, but rather helped to overcome the suffering and more importantly, eradicate the problem from its roots.

The audience enjoying the event

Audience at the launch the UNiTE to End Violence against Women Film Festival and Empowerment Workshops at the Olive Tree Theatre Space in Alexandra, Johannesburg, 1 March 2014, organized by the Department of Arts and Culture and the UN Population Fund

The event closed with a vote of thanks from Ms. Ndlovu, Chief Director in the Minister of Arts and Culture, emphasizing the importance of events like this one, and thanking these young girls and the whole community for the great efforts they are putting, taking a step further towards the elimination of gender based violence and making sure no women or young girls will ever suffer from these acts of violence.

This Film Festival and Empowerment Workshop will be replicated in Botshabelo, Free State during the International Women’s day on March 8, 2014.