SUNDANCE: Directors Tease 'Computer Chess,' 'Spectacular Now,' 'Emanuel And The Truth About Fishes,' 'Salma,' And 'Blackfish'

Salma, directed by Kim Longinotto

When Salma, a young girl in South India, reached puberty, her parents locked her away. Millions of girls all over the world share the same fate. Twenty-five years later, Salma has fought her way back to the outside world.

Salma quick pitch:
It's about a young girl who, according to village tradition, is locked up as soon as she reaches puberty. She's tricked into marriage & totally isolated from the outside world by her husband's family. She defies them all by managing to smuggle poems out which give vent to her secret anger and desires. Eventually, they reach a publisher and cause an immediate sensation. The village is scandalized, but she survives its wrath and becomes a renowned poet and later, a government official, living in Chennai city. The film returns to the village with her as she bravely confronts her cultures' hidden violence and contradictions.

Why it's worth checking out at Sundance and beyond:
Salma is about families and how they trap us, destroy us and comfort us. The film takes the audience straight into a hidden world: a remote Tamil village in South India. But it will surely resonate with the viewers' own experiences on many, many levels. It's also an exhilarating encounter with a survivor, a true pioneer - Salma.

How it all came together:
How do you bring a story to life where much of the drama has happened in the past? I always prefer watching and making films where the action unfolds in front of your eyes. I had to make this film differently. I hope it feels very immediate and vivid and the audience will get involved in the startling present-time scenes.

The village is the most extraordinary place. It's not just a community; it's a set of rigorous, often brutal laws. Everyone who lives there is afraid of transgressing an unspoken but very exacting code of conduct. We had to find a way to get the audience to truly feel this.

Next: Gabriela Cowperthwaite on Blackfish, in the U.S. Documentary selection

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  • Good article, I basically like the fight to create cultural awareness, it feels like one steponward and two steps in the past :-(

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