The recent news about the gang rape in Delhi has brought to the headlines the status of women in India – and with good reason. This regrettably current issue will also be addressed at Tampere Film Festival, where the award-winning documentary Gulabi Gang (2012) by the Mumbai-based director Nistha Jain will be screened.

The film portrays the “pink gang” who operate in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Promoting women´s rights, the Gulabi Gang goes from village to village confronting issues that are usually merely shrugged at. The violence towards women is an example of the issues that the authorities rarely tackle.

Sampat Pal, the outspoken leader of the Gulabi Gang relies on a simple method: confronting issues head-on and saying them out loud. She encourages assault victims to demand justice for themselves and puts pressure on the authorities to deal with the issues. The Gulabi Gang brings hope to the women and the untouchables in a region where illiteracy, child labour, child marriages and a strict caste system are still a part of every day life. Six years after is was founded, the Gulabi Gang has more than 150 000 feisty female members.

Gulabi Gang is a part of the Doc: Asia programme; the other documentaries in this programme cast an eye on the every day life in the slums by the Manila harbour, the painful recent history of Chinese women and the little patients of a children´s hospital in Hanoi.

Additional points-of-view to Asia are offered by the China Experience programme that showcases Chinese experimental film and video art, and in addition to the auditoriums, takes over an art gallery as well. More interesting visions are presented by the Focus on the Philippines programme with its four short film screenings that include the most seminal works of the Filipino avant-garde as well as personal, even anarchistic documentaries and brand new fiction.

Other programme entireties screened at Tampere Film Festival in March include a Sámi film screening celebrating the 15-year-old Skábmagovat festival,  a Polish animation retrospective and a programme dedicated to the best of the French film school Le Fresnoy, just to name a few. Director guests attending the festival include Fijona Jonuzi and Jonas Selberg Augustsén from Sweden, the English animator Darren Walsh and Finnish director Zaida Bergroth who has also selected the films for the Carte blanche.

The entire Tampere Film Festival programme will be announced on January 31st.