Gender rights documentary Son Rise will teach Expo 2020 Dubai visitors to be ambassadors for change

Gender rights documentary Son Rise will teach Expo 2020 Dubai visitors to be ambassadors for change, says filmmaker Vibha Bakshi

DUBAI, 25 November 2021 –Vibha Bakshi, Indian multinational award-winning film producer, speaks at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Media Centre ahead of the screening of her documentary Son Rise.

Son Rise tells the story of ordinary men who have taken on the extraordinary fight to break the shackles of patriarchy, as they fight for gender equality in India and around the world, according to Bakshi. The film will be screened at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Jubilee Stage at 1900 on 26 November.

Can you tell us a bit about your film Son Rise, which will be screened at Expo 2020 Dubai?

“I am honoured to showcase Son Rise, a gender rights film which showcases ordinary men who have taken on the extraordinary fight to knock down patriarchy the world over.

I come here as a proud daughter of India. Because while I was filming Son Rise, it was from my country that I found these incredible gender rights heroes who are contributing towards a global paradigm shift to change the narrative on gender injustice. These men have become the true essence of masculinity, of what it means to be a man, one who can confidently stand by a woman and create a bold and united force for equality. And so, this story goes out to all those incredible changemakers on the ground.”

Why did you want to screen your film at Expo 2020 Dubai? What resonated with you the most about Expo?

“I am deeply inspired to see the world unite at Expo 2020 Dubai, it is a matter of privilege and honour. And as I look at this platform, I see an opportunity that brings the world together, where countries stand together in solidarity for a safer and more gender-equal world. I am humbled at the incredible commitment of our partners: the New Zealand Pavilion, the India Pavilion, the United Nations Hub and the Women’s Pavilion, who have all given so much strength to the film and more importantly to the issue of gender equality.”

How did you feel about Son Rise being showcased as part of the UN’s He for She Movement?

“As a documentary filmmaker, I will always strive to raise audience awareness of those most urgent and sensitive of issues. I am grateful that the film not only won the highest recognition in Indian cinema – the National Film Award for Best Non-Feature Film – but that it was also selected by the United Nations to be showcased across 71 countries as part of the worldwide He for She Movement.

Your films are known to discuss topics such as gender inequality, patriarchy, etc. What are you hoping to achieve by highlighting these messages?

“When we take up sensitive and urgent issues to talk about gender violence and gender bias, it is vital to understand that this is a global reality. There is no country in the world that is not impacted by it. And when we talk about these issues, it is important to remember that this is not a women’s issue, but a human rights issue.

It is essential that men stand in solidarity with women to create a bold and united force for equality. Only then will we achieve a safer and more equitable world where each and every person in the world will benefit.”

You received the National Film Award for Best Non-Feature Film from the President of India. How does it feel to be honoured for making films about such difficult topics that people aren’t always forthcoming to talk about?

“I felt absolute elation and deep gratitude to be awarded the National Film for Best Non-Feature Film from the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, which reaffirmed the faith I have in my government, who have supported and amplified my voice to address important issues. This award enabled me to take my message across schools and universities out to the next generation, who I believe will be our agents of change. I would like to dedicate this award to all of the change makers who are actively working on the ground to make this world a better place.”

How do you feel about showcasing your film here at Expo 2020 Dubai?

“I am inspired to see the world unite at Expo 2020 Dubai and humbled that Son Rise will be displayed at the event’s biggest stage, the Jubilee Stage. The creation of a safer and more equitable world is deserving of such attention.”

What message are you hoping the audience will take from your film after the screening at the Jubilee Stage?

“That each one of us is unstoppable. Every person can be an ambassador of change for a safer and more equitable world. We can redefine a better tomorrow for all of us.”