Two documentaries on Indian journalists have won awards at the Toronto International Film Festival 2022. While We Watched is on the life and work of NDTV journalist Ravish Kumar; Gauri looks at the life and assassination of Gauri Lankesh and the threats faced by Indian journalists today.
While We Watched, made by Vinay Shukla, won the Amplify Voices award while Gauri, made by the slain journalist’s sister Kavitha Lankesh, won the Best Human Rights Film award. Gauri has also been selected for the South Asian Film Festival of Montreal and is being considered for screening at the Doc New York, the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam, and Sundance Film Festival.
Kavitha said that the documentary exposes the threats that journalists face in India, Vartha Bharati reported. “There were over 200 reported attacks on journalists in India in the last five years, out of which over 30 were murders in the last decade,” the award-winning director said. “The attacks range in severity but the intention behind them matters.”
Lankesh was shot dead outside her home in Bengaluru in 2017. She had been receiving threats from suspected Hindu nationalists before her killing.
Shukla’s film looks at how Ravish “navigates a spiraling world of truth and disinformation” and reportedly received a standing ovation at the screening in Toronto. “While We Watched is essential viewing for anyone interested in how television journalism is under threat,” the Toronto festival’s film programmer Thom Powers said. “Although the film is rooted in India, its depiction of misinformation eroding fact-based news could apply to any number of countries from Russia to the United States.”
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