Bangladeshi women's bravery on celluloid
A new documentary on the courage of Bangladeshi women police officers in peacekeeping operations will be screened at the prestigious Mumbai Academy of Movie Image festival today.
Made by Emmy award-winning Indian director Geeta Gandbhir and Oscar-winning Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, the film "A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers" follows a unit of 160 women who, between June 2013 and July 2014, travel far from their families in Bangladesh to join the United Nations Stabilizing Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
They form one of the world's first all-female, predominantly Muslim, peacekeeping units.
"We wanted to make a film about Muslim women who defy stereotypes. These Bangladeshi women are the breadwinners who go out from their communities to leave the men at home with the children.
"It's a role for women in that region that we haven't heard much about and these women do it effectively. It's important for everyone to see that," the directors said in a statement today.
It took three years to make the film during which both Geeta and Sharmeen spent time with the Bangladeshi women "at least a week or week and a half every month" in Haiti and Bangladesh.
"Sharmeen, my co-director and co-producer, is based in Pakistan. So, she covered most of what we shot in Bangladesh and I handled the part in Haiti because I'm based in New York," Geeta said.
The film was premiered at this year's Toronto Film Festival in September.