Begaum Rokeya, a pioneer of women’s education in South Asia wrote a novel in 1902: Sultana’s Dream. It’s a science fiction set in a world where women operate in the public space, and in order to maintain purdah, and men had gone into the zenanas (inner quarters). In Sultana’s dream world, subversions are possible. In this world, women can take up public space without fear or guilt. As we see violence against women escalate all over Bangladesh, we feel it is even more important for women to put forward their own narratives and take up public imagination. At the end of the day, we are as real in history as our stories, and we connect to women across generations through our stories. Self-representation is crucial in writing our own narratives as women.
When this pilot mentorship program is successfully completed, we want to continue this grant to produce more films from Bangladeshi women. We also want to expand this mentorship and research program into other regions of the world by partnering with global film entities such a film festival, grant programs, academic institutions.