BATURU Film Festival: On film, advertising, comics and gender equality in China

"Films, arts and culture can be powerful vehicles to challenge outdated, socially constructed gender norms."

Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is one of the greatest challenges of our time. So, apart from funding projects, what can we do to realize gender equality? "We hope to break through the traditional framework by starting with films, comics and advertising. This way, we aim to raise public awareness on gender equality,” says Li Dan of the BATURU cultural festival. The BATURU festival, formerly known as the China Women's Film Festival (CWFF), seeks to raise awareness on women's rights in popular culture and the wider society. The upcoming period, they are hosting several movie screenings, including two at the Netherlands Embassy in Beijing.

Comics and advertising

"The word BATURU is actually Manchu and means someone brave, a warrior or a hero. We want to enhance the meaning of the word – to transform the meaning and create a super heroine, like in comic books. We organize activities both in China and internationally, gathering feminist activists, creators and stories. Using workshops we connect youthful participants to reveal a diversified cartoon world, where female cartoon characters are the epitome of independence and power," Li Dan explains. In 2017, the women's film festival held a competition to design your own "Super Heroine" and held its award ceremony at the Netherlands Embassy in Beijing.

Besides comics, also advertising is an important theme for Li Dan. “It plays a large role in shaping public awareness of women’s rights and empowerment. Also, it highlights the way society views women and the linked expectations. During the BATURU festival, we will show selected advertisements from an online advertising database. In order to reach beyond the general audience, we will also invite well-known experts to the forum,” says Li Dan.

Empowerment through movies

Of course, the highlight of the festival are the movies. "Film is a powerful medium that can bring us one step closer to achieving gender equality. It can provide us with food for thought and open up the debate." Therefore, the Netherlands Embassy in Beijing has teamed up with the BATURU cultural festival to host two film screenings and debates on October 24th. Both screenings are open to public, but seats are limited. Register through the website of the BATURU Festival.

Bixa Travesty

A documentary that follows Mc Linn Da Quebrada, a black trans woman, performer and activist living in impoverished São Paulo. Her electrifying performances brazenly take on Brazil's hetero-normative machismo.

October 24, 14:30 @ Netherlands Embassy
Claudia Priscilla, Kiko Goifman | 75' | 2018 | Brazil


Young and beautiful Sascha discovers her dream life of recklessness and fun comes at a price when she is welcomed into the “family” of her drug lord boyfriend. Physical and psychological violence are a way of life in this volatile household, but when Sascha seeks the attention of another man, the velvet veneer is stripped raw to the bone.

October 24, 17:45 @ Netherlands Embassy
Isabella Eklof | 93' | 2018 | Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden