Three women achievers share life journey at MIFF

Muscat, March 28 – If we do not tell our stories, who will tell it for us, questioned Mira Nair, writer, director and producer, as she reflected on the importance of filmmaking at the Wow Woman Day, Muscat International Film Festival, at Public Authority for Civil Aviation Auditorium.
“I have always looked for stories that are about people in between – people who are often unseen,” Mira said. That is exactly what her film, ‘Queen of Katwe’ is all about. The movie that was screened at Shatti Cinema last night.
The Wow Woman Day at the festival saw three dynamic women who are achievers in their own right. Chief guest Mira Nair, Amita Vyas, Board Member of ‘Girls Rising’, and Prof Yusra Mouzughi, Vice- Chancellor of Muscat University, recounted their journey and shared their thoughts with the audience.
Mira’s journey began from theatre and documentaries and then to full-fledged film-making.
For Yusra Mouzughi, it was a career in a male-dominated field that tested her competence at every level. “I have always had a love for education. I have been passionate about it but what I am very interested in is the other side of education. We are keen that education is opened up to all to bring in a new way of thinking and problem- solving skills to face challenges in life. What I am interested in is also what happens to a girl when you take her from her setting, educate her and put her back to the setting. The setting around her has not changed but the girl has changed. I am interested in opening up this debate with the boys. In other words, it is not the girl but the people around her,” said Prof Yusra.
Amita Vyas, also from the academia, has been focusing on research on girls and women in health and education.
“One of the things I realised from all of that work is that girls around the world have big dreams and have incredible voice, but the problem is everybody around the world needs to empower and inspire – parents, teachers and the community leaders, brothers and fathers to dream as big for her as she does for herself. One thing I have realised is that there are countless NGOs and grassroots organizations doing incredible work in building schools and providing health services, but it will only have deep impact if we can actually change mindsets, especially the mindsets of everybody around her. I realised story telling is important and can literally change brain chemistry,” says Amita.
After the screening of ‘Girls Rising’, it was time for another inspiring film.
Nair’s film, ‘Queen of Katwe’ depicts the life and struggle of 10-year old Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan girl living in a slum in Katwe. She learns to play chess and becomes a woman candidate master after her victories at the World Chess Olympiads.