More Raça: Telling Women’s Stories to Drive Change

Still from More Raça's Ajo

A guest post by filmmaker More Raça.

I am More Raça from Prishtina, Kosovo—a writer and director of several short films and documentaries.

Home (2016)

Still from More Raça's Home
Still from More Raça’s Home

My last film Home participated in many international film festivals such as Raindance, St. Louis International Film Festival, Florida Film Festival, and Idyllwild Film Festival. I strongly focus on themes concerning women’s issues and their struggles. Cinematography is one path for me to tell the truth about different issues and ensure women’s rights are part of the agenda setting.

The idea originates from the real life of a woman, whose life sequence appears in this film. This woman confessed her shocking fate to me, therefore I decided to make a film about her story. Her brothers want to divide their ancestral property by themselves, totally excluding Hava (sister), because she is a woman and according to traditional customs women have no right to claim any ancestral property. Her brother is obligated to find a husband for her and cover the marriage expenses, that is all. However, Hava doesn’t want to get married. She wants to live in her childhood home. Her brothers strongly oppose her wish, so the conflict begins.

Countries in transition have profound socio-economic problems. One of those is gender inequality. Being a director has a profound meaning, because I can use my artistic creation to advocate for the challenges and problems facing my country as well as the region.

In developing countries such as Kosovo, problems are caused due to a poor implementation of law and order. Moreover, the old customs and traditions are still present and they are very masculine and patriarchal. When you combine the lack of implementation with traditional customs, it makes it very difficult for Kosovo to be functional. This must change, because Kosovo is aspiring to be a liberal European democracy. A woman told me her story, which is the theme of this film and I was thinking about this since 2013. I wanted to make sure that when I write the script I wanted to be as loyal as I could to her story. While the legal restrictions may have been amended in order to give women equal rights when inheriting paternal property, many women in Kosovo are still cautious to pursue their claim.

Ajo (2018)

Still from More Raça's Ajo

Ajo tells the story of a woman who suffers from domestic violence and how her daughter helps her walk away. The film will have its world premiere during 2018. The film speaks of domestic violence as a phenomenon present in our society. Women and girls of Kosovo have very high tolerance to physical violence. That is why we decide to make the short film “She”, which addresses this problem of concern for our society.

I want the audience to experience this movie during and after watching the movie and being sensible. Every citizen as a member of this society can contribute to fighting family violence as the main factor of violence and tolerance against violence is our own society that has biases against women who denounce cases of domestic violence and seek divorce to escape violent conjugal life. These biases and social pressures on women have stopped many women from seeking legal protection from violence by choosing to be silent and tolerate violence.

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