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home > Community Response  >Illuminating Oppression: A Film Festival on Human Rights in South Asia

Illuminating Oppression: A Film Festival on Human Rights in South Asia
January 24 - February 22, 2003
Syracuse University [New York]

Syracuse University's South Asia Center and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, in conjunction with Breakthrough, present a series of dynamic feature films and documentaries by well-known South Asian directors addressing issues on human rights and social justice (including poverty, sectarian and civil conflict, caste oppression, women's issues, migrant labor, etc.) that draw from the India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh experience. The February 22 screenings will be followed by a discussion on the issues that the film and/or set of documentaries focus on with some of the film makers and other experts. For more information, contact the South Asia Center at 443-2553 or

Friday, January 24
5:00-7:00 pm in 254 Newhouse II: Conflict

Evil Stalks the Land (Gauhar Raza, India, 17 min)
Life on the Margin (Arun Kumar, India, 34 min)
The Killing Terraces (Dhruba Basnet, Nepal, 40 min)

Three short documentaries that look at conflict and the ensuing violence and its impact. The cases include the ethnic cleansing and Hindu-Muslim riots that took place in Gujarat in early 2002, caste massacres in Bihar, and the Maoist insurgency in Nepal.

Friday, January 31
5:00-7:00 pm in 254 Newhouse II: Underground Labor

Backstage Boys: India's Labour Goes Global (Meera Dewan, India, 30 min)
In the Flesh (Bishakha Datta, India, 53 min)

Two documentaries on undocumented labor, one chronicling the dreams and compulsions of Punjabi stowaways to Europe, and the other following the lives of three sex workers in India.

Friday, February 7
5:00-6:30 pm in 254 Newhouse II: Kashmir
Paradise on the River of Hell (Abir Bazaz and Meenu Gaur, India, 30 min)
Tell Them That the Tree They Had Planted Has Now Grown (Ajay
Raina, India, 55 min)

Two documentaries on history, memory and forgetting in current day Kashmir.

Friday, February 14
5:00-7:00 pm in 254 Newhouse II: Sri Lanka
Death on a Full Moon Day (Prasanna Vithanage, Sri Lanka, 75 min)

A feature film that explores the connection between religion, society and the devastations of war. Vithanage uses the story of an elderly farmer from one of the Sinhala villages to represent the soul of nation suffering from nearly 20 years of civil strife between the Sri Lankan state and the Tamils living in the North of the Island.

Friday, February 21
5:00-6:30 pm in 254 Newhouse II: Children
Fiddlers on the Thatch (Trisha Das, India, 30 min)
The Children We Sacrifice (Grace Poore, USA, 61 min)

Two documentaries about children. One deals with how children from impoverished backgrounds are given opportunities through classical music and the other confronts the myths and silences about incestuous sexual abuse of the girl child in South Asian communities.

Saturday, February 22
10:00-12:30 pm in 254 Newhouse II: Religion
Screenings will be followed by a discussion with the director(s).
A Sun Sets In (Shahid Nadeem, Pakistan, 45 min)
North of 49 (Dick Breyer, USA, 40 min)

Both documentaries deal with the plight of religious minorities. Nadeem's film is a life sketch of Bishop John Joseph in Pakistan. This is also the venue for the premiere screening of Syracuse University professors Richard Breyer and David Coryell's film on the burning of a Sikh Temple, Gobind Sadan, 30 miles north of Syracuse in the aftermath of 9/11.

Saturday, February 22
1:30-3:30 pm in 254 Newhouse II: Gender and Violence
Screenings will be followed by a discussion with the director(s).

Born to Die (Usha Albuquerque, India, 30 min)
In the Name of Honour (Hammad Ghaznavi, Pakistan, 18 min)
Women in Conflict (Radhika Kaul Batra, India, 30 min)
Mann ke Manjeere -Rhythm of the Mind (Sujit Sircar and Gary for
Breakthrough. India, 5 min)
Babul - Father (Prasoon Pandey for Breakthrough, India, 4 min)

Three documentaries on issues pertaining to violence against girls and women that include issues of female infanticide, and women as civilian victims of terrorism and their potential for leadership in resolving conflict; and two music videos about domestic violence.

Saturday, February 22
5:00 - 8:00 pm in 254 Newhouse II: Caste
Screening will be followed by a discussion with the director.
Dr. Ambedkar (Jabbar Patel, India, 180 min)

Jabbar Patel's feature film tells the true story of the title character fighting against his "untouchable" status and for the rights of the millions of others forced into a miserable life by an accident of birth. Ambedkar gave these people a voice and attempted, during his 30 years in politics, to bring about social equality in India.