Young filmmakers celebrate activists and civil society leaders during CSW61


During the 61st Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) in March 2017, a film and arts segment kicked off the UN Women-organized event, “Supporting Feminist Movement Building for Planet 50-50 by 2030”, with a series of short films produced by 13 young filmmakers and photographers from 11 countries. Six of the filmmakers were supported by the Yvonne Hebert scholars programme, administered by UN Women, which provides scholarships to participate in the Commission on the Status of Women in New York at the UN Headquarters, for members of non-governmental organizations, mostly in the global south. The other filmmakers were chosen through a partnership with the 30Under30 Film Festival..

The short films focused on the theme “the personal is political”, and showcased the stories of activists and civil society leaders and their contribution towards feminist movement building and gender equality in their communities and countries.

See the short films and learn about the filmmakers:

Hands Off

The film calls for an end to the stereotypes associated with women’s bodies. Using a series of clips of a black female body, it calls for an end of the notion that women must be beautiful in a particular way, in order to be deemed as desirable.

Sandisiwe Dlamini is a South African writer, filmmaker and video editor who studied video technology at the Durban University of Technology. She is an LBTI activist, as well as a feminist who works as a videographer at Iranti-org. She is passionate about film and using art as a tool for advocacy.

Living Boldly

The film documents the work of Paola Mathé, who through her fashion company Fanm Djanm (Strong Woman) and social mediais encouraging women of colour around the world to embrace and express their natural beauty. Mathé reaches over 100,000 people every day across her social media accounts, using the head wrap as a symbol of strength.

Melissa Bunni Elian is a multimedia journalist who uses words, photos and videos to capture the stories of ordinary people as reflection of the modern society. She is currently studying at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York City. Her work has been published in the New York Times,, New York Daily News and National Geographic among others. 

Georgie Badiel: The Water Princess

In Burkina Faso, 80 per cent of the population does not have access to clean water. The film features Georgie Badiel, international model turned activist who created a foundation to help build water wells and help end the water crisis in her country.

A filmmaker that started from the border, Ana Yame Rodriguez-Cuervo was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, studied in London and is now based in NYC. She is constantly developing her passion for writing and creating stories with strong female characters.


Activism and life itself mix, complete one another and promote change in people's life and in the society. In this film, activist Lydia Alpizar describes her commitment to promoting women’s rights and how her activism has changed her life.

Maria Ribeiro is a Brazilian photographer who believes that art has the power to transform reality, empower women and contribute to gender equality.

Victoria Villanueva

Victoria Villanueva, Peruvian, has been an activist for gender equality for 36 years. In this film, she looks back on the evolution of the feminist movement to understand where we are standing today.

Lucia Florez, is a Peruvian non-fiction filmmaker with more than eight years of experience working to create social change through visual stories that oscillate from environment to gender issues. Co- Founder of TierrActiva Peru, Creator of “Siete y Cuarto”, Partner at “El” and a Fulbright awardee. 


After the sixth anniversary of the Syria crisis, 14-year-old Aya, a Syrian refugee girl, has concerns about her future. Justinah from South Sudan, who has been a refugee for the past 21 years, wants to share her experience with Aya. An intimate conversation takes place between the two refugees from different worlds in this film.

Nour El Hoda Wahid is an active member at Fe-Male and the current media, audio visual and communications officer for Save the Children Lebanon. She’s 23and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Audio Visual from the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts where she studied cinema. Last March, Wahid participated in a photo project organized by Save the Children in collaboration with the photographer Patrick Willocq and attended the reception at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2016.

We Are Not Alone

This is the story of Emma Holten, a revenge porn victim, who now fights as an activist against violation of privacy. The film reminds us that personal hardship can have its roots in the structural oppression of women and that we are not fighting alone.

Anick Jasmin is a 19-year-old filmmaker and engineering student that grew up in Haïti and now lives in Canada. She dedicates her art to the stories of powerful women. Her goal is to inspire young women to empower themselves and reach their full potential. 

Sally Kader

This film takes a look inside the mission of Sally Kader, president of The International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development during CSW61.

Sebastian Rea and Courtney Baxter are filmmakers who aim to tell visually and emotionally stimulating stories. They are currently developing a feature film in the IFP No Borders Lab.They also run the 30Under30 Film Festival for young filmmakers in New York. 

Better Speak

In this film, nine young feminists from around the world share what it means to them to carve their space and participate at CSW61.

Nayani Thiyagarajah is a director, producer, and writer dedicated to stories that centre on voices from the margins. Her first feature documentary "Shadeism: Digging Deeper" (2015) had its world premiere at the 2015 Zanzibar International Film Festival, where it won a Special Jury Prize. She is currently in development for her second feature film, and feels blessed to continue creating for the screen and playing make believe for a living.

Nidhi Goyal

Scenes from every day life accompany Nidhi Goyal's narration in this film about her personal experience as a woman who became visually impaired, and how disability her to social activism.

Amaranta Fiquitiva is Colombian filmmaker. She has worked as director and editor on her own projects, as well as for other artists. She is currently developing a documentary about immigrant women in the United States.