After Mumbai police killed ten unarmed Dalit protestors in 1997, "untouchable" singer/poet Vilas Ghogre was pushed beyond his breaking point and took his own life. Outraged by both the massacre and the loss of a dear friend, India’s leading documentarian Anand Patwardhan (In the Name of God) dedicated the next 14 years of his life to crafting this tour de force. And while born of frustration, it’s executed with tremendous guile and restraint. In condemning Hindu extremism and the millennia of oppression endured by the Dalit, Patwardhan immerses himself in their lives, inviting them to share their struggles with discrimination. In the process, he showcases the underclass’ indomitable spirit. Refused their basic human rights, their poems and protest songs are impassioned and full-voiced. In condemning "the ongoing atrocity of caste," Patwardhan also composes a landmark music documentary that possesses uncommon soulfulness and undeniable power. Of course, in the largest frame of reference, Patwardan’s subject is the appalling possibilities one might fear with the rise of extremist nationalism in general.
Screening at the 2012 Vancouver International Film Festival.
Both in terms of admissions and number of films screened (152,000 and 386 respectively in 2011) VIFF is among the five largest film festivals in North America. We screen films from 80 countries on 10 screens. The international line-up includes the pick of the world’s top film fests and many undiscovered gems. VIFF 2011 included 20 World premieres, 30 International premieres, 49 North American premieres and 40 Canadian premieres.
Three main programming platforms make our festival unique: we screen the largest selection of East Asian films outside of that region, we are one of the biggest showcases of Canadian film in the world and we have a large and important nonfiction program.
Attracting a large, attentive and enthusiastic audience of film lovers, the festival remains accessible, friendly and culturally diverse. As the critics say, VIFF is very much a festival “designed for the benefit of people who love films and people who make them.”