Born Into Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids (2004) Film. Directors : Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman

Admist the apparent growing prosperity of India, there is a dark underbelly of poverty of another side of the nation that is little known. This film is a chronicle of filmmakers Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman’s efforts to show that world of Calcutta’s red light district. To do that, they inspired a special group of children of the prostitutes of the area to photograph the most reluctant subjects of it. As the kids excel in their new found art, the filmmakers struggle to help them have a chance for a better life away from the miserable poverty that threatens to crush their dreams. (imdb)

In this gripping and gritty Academy-Award winning documentary, photojournalists/ documentarians Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman chronicle their journey into the seedy Red Light District of Calcutta, India. Briski and Kauffman come to develop a special attachment to the District’s children; Briski even decides to train the children in photography and equips them with cameras to photograph their experiences growing-up in the brothels. Finding empowerment behind the lens, the children emerge from the margins and into public awareness, though not without also igniting debates over the politics of representation and ethics of Western intervention. Briski and Kauffman received the 2005 Academy Award for Best Documentary feature, as well as the 2004 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award. –UCI