Image from a poster for the film “Arab Blues,” shown during the inaugural Shakti Film Festival in 2020. (Photo:

Image from a poster for the film “Arab Blues,” shown during the inaugural Shakti Film Festival in 2020. (Photo:


Women in strong, creative roles the focus of films at second Surrey festival

Submissions sought in four categories for mid-October online screenings, with prizes awarded

Surrey-based Shakti Society, which aims to empower women, families and children, seeks film submissions for its annual festival.

The Shakti Film Festival is the non-profit group’s latest undertaking in its mission “to increase and acknowledge women’s contribution to our society and their representation in film.”

For mid-October screenings online, submissions are welcomed in four categories (feature film, student film, documentary and short), with $100 prizes for each winning entry. The submission deadline is Sept. 15.

People of all genders are welcome to submit films as long as a woman holds one or more positions as director, writer, cinematographer or producer. Films must have a theme, or themes, of violence against women, political participation of women, women and environmental challenges, race/gender/identity, or men/boys as allies.

The pandemic has forced the second annual festival into a digital format over two days, Oct. 15-16, in celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child.

“We will be inviting film and media personalities as well as community leaders to engage in action oriented discussions about the role that media plays in shaping society and how we as consumers of media also play a big part in creating our culture,” says a post on, the film submission webpage.

• RELATED STORY, from 2020: New festival in Surrey focuses on women in film, both behind camera and on screen.

“Shakti Society has addressed the influence of media and films on violence against women and we will be focusing and promoting films that showcase women in strong roles as well as filmmakers who are often marginalized due to various barriers, like race, colour, finances, language, disability, sexual orientation and various health issues including mental health.”

Shakti is a word defined as “the female principle of divine energy, especially when personified as the supreme deity.”

In addition to the film festival, the Shakti organization also plans community forums, an awards event, annual wellness days, and more. Timed with International Women’s Day, Shakti Awards event went online March 8, 2021, and were held at Surrey’s Bollywood Banquet Hall in 2020.

“Our mandate is to support all members of society, especially women, in finding their power and voice to become strong leaders and advocates for themselves and the community,” says the webpost. “We have introduced various initiatives that help ‘awaken the power within’ and create dialogue around feminism and gender equality.”

Tickets for Shakti Film Festival are available on, starting at $10. For more details or sponsorship queries, contact Sonia at 604-307-8796 or Niti at 604-506-0953, or email

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