A documentary film made by fifteen year-old Jayshree Janu Kharpade, a tribal girl from Wada taluka of Thane district, has won an award in the Asian American Film Festival held in New York recently.
Jayashree, who studies in Eklavya Parivartan Vidyalaya, made the 27-minute-long documentary-- 'Fire in our Hearts' on the lives of the children in the brick kiln owners. In 2003, when she was eight, Jayshree had to quit school. After her mother's death, she had to tend to her three younger brothers while her father worked at a brick kiln.
In the film, which won the 'One to Watch' award at the festival, Jayshree documented her family and village as well as the tenacious efforts of the tribal union for the equal rights to education. "It shows that if tribal girls are given an opportunity, they can excel. However, the sorry state is that they have been ignored by the society and it is high time we bring them into the main stream," Vivek Pandit, chief of the
Shramajivi Sanghatana said.
It was the story of the girl's struggle that made documentary filmmaker Joyce Chopra of New York-based NGO, By Kids, approach Jayshree. A two-member team flew down from New York in February this year and stayed for a month in the boarding school to teach Jayshree to handle the camera. After a week of lessons on how to handle the camera, the girl marched to her village in Wada to document the story of her life.
The Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) is produced by Asian CineVision (ACV), a nonprofit media arts organization devoted to the development, promotion and preservation of Asian and Asian American film and video.
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