Wakefield International Film Festival: Post-show Panel for The World Before Her

[Press Release]

Wakefield International Film Festival organizers are happy to announce the panel on deck for discussion following the March 3rd presentation of the multi-award-winning, much-anticipated and remarkably timely The World Before Her.

This provocative film, directed by Canadian Nisha Pahuja, ponders the choices and restrictions facing women in contemporary India. It presents two ‘boot camps,’ one a month-long, controversial “Miss India” training regimen, and the other an extreme training of young girls in militant Hindu fundamentalism, where they learn how to fight Muslim, Christian and Western influences. Modern India, torn between modernity and tradition.

Part of Dave Robson’s review in Sight on Sound during Hot Docs 2012:

“… It isn’t enough to say that the Miss India contestants are modern and free and the girls of Durga Vahini are tradition-bound and repressed. The truth has more ambiguity, and Pahuja has a talent for finding it, whether it is Miss India contestants speaking so eloquently privately and then struggling for words during the pageant, or the girls of Durga Vahini practicing selfdefence methods at camp and then tolerating violent discipline at home…

” The World Before Her is one of the best documentaries on femininity and culture in years. It is lively but thought provoking … and mercifully—mercifully—jargon-free….”

Not only did this film bag the distinction of opening spot in the World Documentary competition at NYC’s Tribeca Film Festival in 2012, but it also took top honours there, winning Best Documentary Feature. A heady premiere, you might say. The World Before Her went on to win Best Canadian Documentary at Hot Docs in Toronto, and at Vancouver International Film Festival, and Best Foreign Film at 2012 Traverse City Film Festival, amongst other honours.

For this Sunday’s discussion following the film, WIFF will welcome two remarkable women with a particular interest in this subject:

Gopika Solanki is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Carleton. Her research interests include gender and politics, cultural pluralism and citizenship, legal pluralism, ethnicity, religion, criminal law and governance, and South Asian politics. She has published extensively on the topic of women’s rights and cultural diversity in India and is the author of Adjudication in Religious Family Laws: Cultural Accommodation, Legal Pluralism, and Gender Equality in India and co-author of Journey from Violence to Crime: A Study of Domestic Violence in the City of Mumbai.

Kristin Bright is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Middlebury College in the U.S. and Research Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at Carleton. Her research is focused on cultural forms and social structures of gender, sexuality, kinship, religion, secularism, and the body in South Asia. She is completing a book about the history and social life of Islamic medicine in South Asia, including the role traditional health providers and consumers take in shaping new understandings about gender, agency, science, citizenship, and public life in contemporary India.

Showtime is 5:30pm at the Wakefield LaPeche Community Centre, 38 Valley Drive, Wakefield.

Tickets are $10 and are available at Jamboree and Wakefield Express in Wakefield village or online at www.wakefieldfilmfestival.ca – or at the door, but come early!