San Leandro, Calif. — Among the 70-odd films screening at the 17th United Nations Association Film Festival, to be held at Stanford University and other venues in the San Francisco Bay Area Oct. 16-26, are three films showing a hidden side of India and Pakistan.
“The Pad Piper” earned its director Akanksha Sood Singh the 2014 National Award for best film on science and technology for its charming take on grassroots activist Arunachalam Muruganatham, the man who tackled taboos by daring to wear a sanitary napkin.
Muruganatham — now a hero to thousands of Indian women — was dismayed to learn that the women in his life, and indeed across a lot of India, weren’t able to access cheap and hygienic sanitary pads, so he singlehandedly invented a machine that can enable even poor rural women to manufacture them. This 52-minute film is a Japanese/Indian coproduction.
With “In Plain Sight,” documentarian Erica Jordan follows fearless photographer Lisa Kristine to some of the world’s most dangerous places as Kristine snaps images of contemporary human slavery in Sonagachi’s brothels and Ghana’s gold mines, among other locations.
Jim Goldblum took his camera into a Delhi slum called Kathputli to film “Tomorrow We Disappear,” a documentary about a 2,800-strong community of entertainers and their fight to keep their homes as a multi-million-dollar development capped by the Raheja Phoenix skyscraper takes shape around them.
“Pakistan’s Hidden Shame” is a Pakistani/British coproduction about the problem of child abuse in Pakistan, particularly in Peshawar, where street children are routinely victimized, said the filmmakers. Visit UNAFF.org for details.