Weber Shandwick champions the gender cause in India by supporting National Films Awards winner 2019 'Son Rise'

Women can be part of local politics

'Son Rise' a documentary by filmmaker Vibha Bakshi featuring men who fight for gender equality, has won the 66th National Film Award for best 'Non-Feature' film as well as for best editing in the non-feature film category.

Weber Shandwick India has been a strategic partner for this film as part of their broader global mandate for purpose-driven communication.

'Son Rise',  is filmed in rural Haryana, a strongly patriarchal state, bordering India’s capital, New Delhi.  

The film focuses on ‘ordinary’ men doing the ‘extraordinary’ in the struggle for women’s rights and gender justice. From a forward-thinking village chief and father of two daughters, fighting for women to enter the male-dominated arena of local-politics – to a farmer who, in an arranged marriage, defies society by marrying a gang rape survivor.

Filmmaker Vibha Bakshi told PRmoment India that "When you make a film that is issue-based and you need to stir the audience, many people have to get involved and encourage people to talk about it. Weber Shandwick has been an incredible partner in this process and has taken the film and made it a movement."

This is Vibha Bakshi's second consecutive National Film Award

The film is also in support of UN Women, also called the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, as part of their #HeForShe campaign for gender equality.

Valerie Pinto, CEO, Weber Shandwick India, said that, "Our culture at Weber is to drive purpose-led communications. It breaks my heart when I see stories about gender inequality and gender violence and not do anything about it. What is so special about 'Son Rise' is that it offers solutions and is positive storytelling with which we have been able to rally a movement and make a difference in the eco-system."

Son Rise fits in with Weber's mandate for purposeful communication

Weber worked pro bono not only on the communication mandate but also helped put together strategic partnerships with organisations such as the UN to spread awareness through stakeholders.

And as Pinto points out, "This is a film minus a Karan Johar or celebrities. It was very difficult to convince the mainstream media about covering the film and the issue. And we were very clear that the issue was the celebrity and star here and we wanted the right people to tell the story. But with the conviction in our story and leveraging the Weber network in India and globally, mainstream media gave it the right coverage."

Bakshi shared that the film is in the process of being screened at schools and the response there has been very positive. Bakshi admits to being nervous about showing a film on gender rights made in Hindi to, "Boys and girls in the age group of 15 to 18 years at elite schools in India."

 But, she says, the response has been overwhelming and in keeping with Son Rise's purpose of educating men about gender rights at a young age, rather than, "When they are 50!"

#HeForShe is an invitation for men and people of all genders to stand in solidarity with women to create a bold, visible and united force for a gender-equal world. Commit to take action for gender equality now.