Liz Nicholls previews a festival that celebrates women's empowerment

A film festival — Women Who Live Their Dreams — is showcasing some incredible female documentary filmmakers from around the world, in the run-up to International Women’s Day. Students from around Oxford were encouraged to make films to submit for a small video contest (these short films can be viewed at oxfordfilm

Women Who Live Their Dreams is Oxford University’s first women’s film festival and is taking place all this week, culminating in a final conference and a house party this Saturday, International Women’s Day. The festival’s organiser, Augusta Thomson of St Hugh’s College, said: “The festival celebrates women’s empowerment hopes to engage Oxford students and the wider community in a dialogue surrounding the relationship between female empowerment and media.”

Each day of the festival features a film screening and a subsequent Q&A with award-winning female documentary filmmakers from around the globe. Films screened so far this week include Girl Rising at St Edmund Hall; The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo, at Phoenix Picturehouse in Jericho. Dreams of Dutiful Daughters and Step Forward: Tariq Jahal; a reluctant hero, will be screened this evening (Thursday) at 6.30pm with a Q&A with the award-winning Dr Khin Mar Mar Kyi.

Tomorrow’s highlight will be the premiere of Nine-Story Mountain, a documentary about the sacred Mount Kailash, in the far west of Tibet at 6.30pm featuring a Q&A with director Augusta Thomson

She adds: “On Saturday, the festival will culminate in a final conference in the Nissan Lecture Theatre at St Antony’s College, Oxford, where the festival’s featured filmmakers will present in more depth their personal stories and experiences and the overarching topics of female empowerment.” They will be joined by women’s activist and writer, Nikki van der Gaag, and featured presenter, Dr Sarah Fane, OBE, pictured left, founder of Afghan Connection, along with several other female speakers. The conference and festival will conclude with a final screening of The Parable of Gulnaz followed by a Q&A with director Clementine (Clem) Malpas. This event is free and open to the public.

For more details, visit