Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh on Making WRITING WITH FIRE – Mythily Ramachandran interviews (Exclusive Guest Post)

Debutant directors Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh received two awards-Audience award and Special Jury award at Sundance Film Festival 2021 for their documentary Writing With Fire, chronicling the rise of ‘Khabar Lahariya’ (Waves of news), India’s only newspaper run by Dalit (considered untouchables) women and which recently went digital. em>WWF is produced by Black Ticket Films, a production company cofounded by Thomas and Ghosh and recognized for its award winning shorts including Timbaktu that received the Indian national award in 2012 as Best Environmental film. Mythily Ramachandran talks to the duo on the making of this documentary.

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CODA (Sundance2021) – Review by Leslie Combemale

CODA is about Ruby Rossi, a 17 year old hearing girl who helps her deaf family with their fishing business in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The story would be pretty pedestrian but that it centers entirely on a deaf family, often speaking in ASL, performed by deaf actors, with dialogue shown in subtitles to those who don’t know the language. It is writer/director Sian Heder’s dialogue, and the delivery by the actors, that raises CODA high above standard coming of age fare. This is not a film that makes the story about deafness itself.

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RITA MORENO: JUST A GIRL WHO DECIDED TO GO FOR IT (Sundance2021) – Review by Leslie Combemale

Early on in the documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It, viewers see Rita and a friend preparing for her 87th birthday party. She’s setting up the decorations and plastic cutlery and talking to the documentarian. Within minutes, anyone who appreciates straight-shooting broads, never mind uber-talented IGOT-winning Latinas, will be completely in love.

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WRITING WITH FIRE (Sundance2021) – Review by Leslie Combemale

“Instead of patronizing me, why don’t you give me an interview.” This is the sort of fearless response offered by one of the intrepid female reporters from the Indian newspaper Khabar Lahariya (Waves of News), which was started and is entirely run by Dalit women. The Dalit caste is considered the lowest, or ‘untouchable’ societal group in India. These women, their courageous work, and the rise of Khabar Lahariya (or KL) is the subject of the new documentary Writing with Fire.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Woman-directed films win big at Sundance 2021 – Brandy McDonnell reports

Director and screenwriter Siân Heder’s family drama Coda won four awards in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category: the grand jury prize, the directing prize, the audience award and a special jury prize for best ensemble. Coda is the first film in the history of the Sundance Film Festival to earn all three U.S. Dramatic top prizes.

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RITA MORENO: JUST A GIRL WHO DECIDED TO GO FOR IT (Sundance 2021) -Review by Pam Grady

Rita Morena: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It is a fabulous exploration of a personality both down-to-earth and larger-than-life. As a film, it never wears out its welcome but leaves us wishing we had more time to spend with this wonderful woman and wonder what she will be up to next. On Rita Moreno, 90 might just be the new 60.

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THE BLAZING WORLD (Sundance2021) – Review by Rachel West

Carlson Young’s The Blazing World may be one of the most ambitious feature film directorial debuts of Sundance, if not of all-time. Young directs and stars in a film that finds itself buried under style while running thin on substance. But it’s not for lacking of trying, and for that, The Blazing World is a debut more to be admired than enjoyed.

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WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR (Sundance2021) – Review by Pam Grady

A teenage girl living a troubled life in the real world seeks community and adventure in the titular online role-playing game in writer-director Jane Schoenbrun’s intriguing narrative feature debut. Ostensibly a horror movie in which a naïve kid immerses herself in a world that promises transformation, the real horror isn’t in the game but in the world the girl encounters whenever she leaves her bedroom.

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IN THE SAME BREATH (Sundance2021) – Review by Leslie Combemale

Is In the Same Breath, a film about the rise of COVID-19, a documentary or a horror film? The answer is it’s both, but it’s also a fascinating chronicle of what actually happened inside Wuhan, and how both the Chinese and American people experienced the outbreak.

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CODA (SUNDANCE2021) – Review by Rachel West

CODA, a delightful film that offers a new spin on the standard coming-of-age tale, focuses on Ruby, a teenager who happens to be a CODA – child of deaf adults. By both necessity and preference, the Rossi family has existed outside of the hearing community, relying on Ruby to help be the bridge between the two worlds, especially when it comes to the family’s fishing business.

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