Young Filmmakers Advocate Against Gender-Based Violence

UNDP hosts award ceremony for mobile film contest winners to raise awareness on cyber security and hate speech against women.

June 13, 2024

Winners of the mobile film contest at the UNDP office in Dhaka on June 12, 2024, with UNDP Resident Representative Stefan Liller.

©UNDP Bangladesh

A number of young filmmakers, who are the winners of a mobile film contest gathered in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office on June 12. They had different stories to tell through their lens, and all of them resonated the same issue- violence against women. 

Every year the world celebrates 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence starting on November 25 which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. In 2023, as a part of this global campaign, UNDP called upon young filmmakers of our country aged between 18-35 to submit short films shot on their mobile phones. 

The theme revolved around raising awareness on critical issues like cyber security and hate speech against women. There were more than 175 submissions from all over the country. The jury members selected the best 10 films and invited them to join the award-giving ceremony.  

The Resident Representative of UNDP, Stefan Liller seized the opportunity to encourage the filmmakers for their hard work. “Gender-based violence and cyberspace bullying are common problems in every part of the world. To eliminate it, we must reach as many people as we can. Your films with other components can help reach the highest amount of audience” he said. 

Lulu Marzan Dina, one of the winners and a student of Jahangirnagar University shared her filmmaking experience during the event. “I have seen women experiencing sexual harassment irrespective of the kind of clothes they are wearing. I tried to reflect those very personal experiences in my film" she said. According to her, the contest gave her a scope to speak up against a stigmatised issue like gender-based violence.  

Another winner Antoneel Bhattacharjee said that on his way to college, he often observed women facing unpleasant incidents where most people remain silent. "I wanted to do something about it. So, when I came to know about the contest, I talked to my female friends about their experiences to make my film realistic," he said. 

Award ceremony at the UNDP office in Dhaka on June 12, 2024. A young filmmaker receives her certificate from actor and director Iresh Zaker

©UNDP Bangladesh

Notable actor, and director Iresh Zaker who was a jury member praised the participants’ storytelling skills using a regular mobile phone and emphasised the importance of talking about the issue. 

"Cyberspace bullying, hate speech against women these are regular incidents. We must keep making films on it. The stories might not sound very dramatic to listen to, but the projection can show the grave impact it has on society" he said. 

Films were screened during the event. The captivating script and the visuals reflected how women experience harassment and violence in different spheres of their lives. 

But above all, it reflected the dedication the filmmakers have regarding the cause. The award ceremony ended on an optimistic note where the makers expressed their wish to continue working to stop violence against women. 

Md Abdul Quayyum, Head of Communications, UNDP Bangladesh said “We want to bring more creative minds on board to address this issue, that’s why we would like to continue the film contest this year also”. 

Anowarul Haq Assistant Resident Representative, Democratic Governance and renowned producer Arifur Rahman were also present at the award ceremony.


UNDP Bangladesh honors young filmmakers for impactful films on gender-based violence, with plans to continue the contest.