Rupa’s Boutique

“Rupa’s Boutique,” a 53-minute documentary (above) highlighting the horrible menace of acid attacks in India, won the United Nations Association Film Festival’s Grand Jury award for ‘Best Documentary.’ “Holy (un)Holy River,” co-produced by Indian American director Anand Kamalakar, also won an award. (unaff.org photo)

A film documenting how the efforts of one acid attack victim are changing the lives of many survivors took home the Grand Jury award for ‘Best Documentary’ at the 20th United Nations Association Film Festival, which was held at Stanford University and other venues in the San Francisco Bay Area Oct. 19-29.

The documentary, “Rupa’s Boutique,” tells the story of Rupa, a young girl from Agra, Uttar Pradesh, who aspired to be a fashion designer until an acid attack changed her life. The documentary, which is directed by Glória Halász and produced by Halász and Praaful Chaudhary, an Indian CG artist and 3D generalist, shows how Rupa would like to open her own boutique so that she could gain financial independence. And in the boutique, she hopes to employ her fellow victims of acid attack. As the film progresses, audiences get to know the life stories and dreams of Rupa and the other victims as they prepare for a monumental fashion show, where the clothes designed by them are showcased by the survivors.

“Holy (un)Holy River,” a 60-minute documentary, which examines the paradox of India’s sacred river, the Ganges, and the intricacies of a waterway that is divine and defiled, revered and reviled, according to a press release, won the ‘UNAFF/Stanford Video Award’ for cinematography.

“Holy (un)Holy River” has been directed by Pete McBride, Jake Norton, and produced by McBride, Norton, and Anand Kamalakar, a Brooklyn-based Indian American director-producer- editor, known for films like “The Gowanus Canal,” which won the ‘Best Film’ award at the Brooklyn Film Festival.

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