Oscar-winning film ‘Born Into Brothels’ screens at Docutah monthly series

Promotional material from the documentary film "Born Into Brothels," location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Docutah@TheElectric, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Telling the story of children born to prostitutes in India, the Academy Award-winning film “Born Into Brothels” is the most recent installment of the Docutah@TheElectric monthly screenings. The documentary will be shown Friday at 7 p.m. at the Electric Theater.

The event will be hosted by the film’s executive producer, Geralyn Dreyfous. Tickets are $10. Reservations are required and can be made online.

Geralyn Dreyfous, executive producer of “Born Into Brothels,” poses for a photo, location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Docutah@TheElectric, St. George News

In the dark underworld of Calcutta’s overcrowded red light district appears a group of unforgettable children. Feisty, courageous and wickedly funny – they are the children of prostitutes.

“Born Into Brothels” portrays the resilience of children and the magic of art to transform life for young people living in the brothels.

Film critic Roger Ebert said this about the film:

Zana Briski, an American photographer, and Ross Kauffman, her collaborator, went to Calcutta to film prostitution and found that it melted out of sight as they appeared. It was all around them, it put them in danger, but it was invisible to their camera. What they did see were the children, because the kids of the district followed the visitors, fascinated. Briski hit upon the idea of giving cameras to these children of prostitutes, and asking them to take photos of the world in which they lived.

Zana Auntie,” as the children call her, is determined to use photography to provide the children with an opportunity for higher education, hope and a better life. She gives each child a camera and teaches them the basics of photography. The children, literally born into the brothels, are able to capture elements of life in the Red Light District that outsiders cannot.

Avijit Halder, one of the boys who participated, had his life totally transformed by the experience.

“I wouldn’t be the person I am if it weren’t for Born into Brothels,” Halder said.

Phil Tuckett, executive director of The Docutah International Documentary Film Festival, called the resulting photos taken by the children “astonishing in their clarity and artistic vision.” The photos have been exhibited all over the world, Tuckett said.

“The resulting opportunities afforded to these children because of their talent and the filmmakers’ vision will bring audiences to tears,” he said. “The film will help people understand that there are many innovative ways to approach problems and improve the human condition.”

Dreyfous will be on hand to answer questions from the audience about the amazing journey of both the filmmakers and their young students.

Event details

  • What: Docutah@TheElectric screening of “Born Into Brothels.”
  • When: Friday, April 28, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Electric Theater, 68 E. Tabernacle, St. George.
  • Cost: $10
  • Additional information: Reservations are required and can be made online.

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