Writing with Fire

In the midst of a patriarchal news landscape, the reporters with Khabar Lahariya – India’s only all-female news network – are taking it upon themselves to redefine power. Nominated for an Academy Award.

Meera and Suneeta reporting on an illegal mining mafia in the heartlands of Uttar Pradesh.
Series
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
March 28, 2022
Length
90 minutes
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2021 Academy Awards-Best Documentary
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2021 International Documentary Association (IDA)-Best Feature
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2021 Sundance Film Festival-Special Jury Award for Impact and Change
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2021 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)-Audience Award
  • Headshot of Rintu Thomas
    Co-Director/Producer

    Rintu Thomas

    Rintu Thomas is an award-winning director-producer, whose debut feature documentary, Writing With Fire, won two awards at Sundance ’21 and is a NYT Critics Pick.  A 2021 IDA Courage Under Fire Award honoree, Rintu is also an IDA Logan Elevate grantee and a Sundance Fellow.

    Headshot of Sushmit Ghosh
    Co-Director

    Sushmit Ghosh

    Sushmit Ghosh is an award-winning director, cinematographer who co-founded Black Ticket Films, a film company invested in the power of storytelling. Sushmit’s debut feature documentary Writing With Fire is a double Sundance award winner. Hailed by IndieWire as ‘profound’, ‘insightful and inspirational’ by The Hollywood Reporter, it has won 12 Best Show more Documentary Awards through the year. Sushmit is a 2021 IDA Courage Under Fire Award Honoree and a Sundance Fellow. Show less

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    The Film

    In the midst of a crowded, patriarchal news landscape, the reporters with Khabar Lahariya – India’s only all-female news network – are taking it upon themselves to cover their country’s inequities with unflinching and intrepid determination. Armed only with their smartphones, these fearless journalists roam the state of Uttar Pradesh, exposing the country’s extremist Hindu leadership, rape culture, and rampant corruption that victimizes those without voice or power. They investigate the incompetence of the local police force, listen to and stand by victims of caste and gender violence, and challenge long-standing, harmful practices that lead to injustice and intimidation.

    The Academy Award-nominated Writing with Fire follows this ambitious group of Dalit women—led by their chief reporter, Meera, one of the undaunted women from India’s lowest caste behind Khabar Lahariya. As the team switches from print to digital in order to stay relevant, they harness the power of online media and YouTube to reach audiences far beyond the confines of their social standing in order to broadcast abuses of patriarchy and government malfeasance. Their awe-inspiring efforts to redefine traditional notions of power, be it on the frontlines of India's biggest issues or within the confines of their homes, are redefining what it means to actually be powerful.

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