Ten years after Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Director for the movie Hurt Locker, Emirates, one of the world’s biggest screeners of movies, is paying tribute to women through the medium of film to mark International Women’s Day 2020.
The airline will offer passengers a new folder on its award-winning ice inflight entertainment system throughout March, featuring a collection of 120 movies in multiple languages that have one thing in common: they were all directed by women.
Women directors have also added lustre to Sri Lanka’s film industry. Among them is the veteran Sumitra Peris, the first Sri Lankan female filmmaker known as the ‘Poetess of Sinhala Cinema’ who has won awards at the Carthage International Film Festival, London Film Festival, South Asian Film Festival, and International Film Festival and Inoka Sathyangani Kirthinanda who received critical acclaim for her maiden effort ‘Sulang Kirilli,’ which traces the plight of a disadvantaged woman. The film won the highest number of awards by a single film in the history of Sri Lanka’s film industry.
The movies featured on-board Emirates this March include Phyllida Lloyd’s ‘Mamma Mia,’ Elizabeth Banks’ ‘Charlie’s Angels’ and Kasi Lemmon’s ‘Harriet’ and encompass both Hollywood blockbusters and foreign language films popularly enjoyed by Sri Lankans in Hindi, Korean and Arabic as well as movies in Cantonese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Malayalam, Mandarin, Marathi, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Tagalog.
Among some of the Hollywood favourites featured in celebration of women include ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ (Marielle Heller), ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ (Gurinder Chadha), ‘Coco Before Chanel’ (Anne Fontaine), ‘Lost in Translation’ (Sofia Coppola), ‘The Farewell’ (Lulu Wang) and ‘Unbroken’ (Angelina Jolie).
Some of the captivating foreign language movies are Shonali Bose’s ‘The Sky is Pink’ (Hindi) that is based on the life of motivational speaker Aisha Chaudhary recounting the love story of her parents over a period of 25 years; Haifaa Al-Mansour’s ‘Wadjda’ (Arabic) about a feisty little Saudi girl’s adventures in hopes of buying her own bicycle; and Boo Ji-young’s ‘Cart’ (Korean) that zooms into the lives of the employees of a large retailer who band together to combat the company’s exploitative practices.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Emirates is also highlighting one aspect of how women in aviation are supporting economies and touching lives across the world. The airline has released a video that follows an all-women flight deck crew that operates multi-stop cargo flights across four continents on Emirates SkyCargo’s Boeing 777 freighter aircraft. Captain Ellen Roz from the United States and First Officer Heidi McDiarmid from Australia cover close to 30,000kms in 10 days on five freighter flights from Frankfurt to Mexico City, onwards to Quito, Aguadilla, Amsterdam and finally to Dubai transporting over 300 tonnes of cargo ranging from fresh flowers and fruits to pharmaceuticals. The two pilots were also joined by Captain Heather Wolf from Canada for operating the flight from Frankfurt to Mexico City.
Women constitute more than 40% of the total workforce at Emirates with the majority working as cabin crew. Emirates’ female pilots come from over 30 nationalities, covering an age range from 23 to 62 years. Women from over 160 nationalities, including more than 1,100 Emiratis, are employed across the Emirates Group in operational roles in functions including flight operations, engineering, aircraft maintenance & appearance, catering, cargo and ramp operations; in customer facing roles in airport services, sales and customer affairs and corporate roles across business support functions. Sri Lankan women are actively involved in Emirates operations as well: of the 1,226 Sri Lankans employed by the Emirates Group, 282 are women. The airline has always believed in inclusion, as evidenced by its 135-nationality cabin crew, region-specific inflight cuisine and 4,500-channel inflight entertainment system, which includes Sinhala movies and music.