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Documentary on Dalit journalists makes Oscars shortlist

Documentary on Dalit journalists makes Oscars shortlist

India has made it to the Academy of Motion Picture's documentary shortlist for the Oscars, with directors Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh's 'Writing with Fire', a documentary on Dalit women journalists running a newspaper. However, the celebrated Tamil film 'Koozhangal' which was India's official entry for Best Film, has been dropped from the final list.

'Writing with Fire' follows a group of journalists in Uttar Pradesh, who formed the first Indian all-woman newspaper and online media portal. Named 'Khabar Lahariya', the news portal offers the women an opportunity to painstakingly document the struggles of their local communities including poverty, rape, endemic corruption and other issues.

The documentary focuses on three women who work there, including chief reporter Meera, young recruit Shyamkali and Suneeta. It takes an intimate look at their lives, from the struggles of reporting dangerous and often life-threatening stories as women who are also Dalits, untouchable under the caste hierarchy, and their attempts to balance their career ambitions with the struggles of family and poverty.

"Considering the context of Uttar Pradesh, and of Khabar Lahariya's devotion to telling the stories that those in power want to keep hidden, these words could not be more true. "Writing with Fire" is an urgent reminder of journalism's importance," writes Sheila O'Malley for

Other competitors in the same segment include Ascension" (MTV Documentary Films, dir. Jessica Kingdon), "Attica" (Showtime, dir. Stanley Nelson), "Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry" (Apple Original Films, dir. RJ Cutler), "Faya Dayi" (Janus Films, dir. Jessica Beshir) and "The First Wave" (National Geographic, dir. Matthew Heineman).

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TAGS:Documentary Dalit Oscars India 
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