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Oscar Nomination Itself Is The Win, Says Writing With Fire Maker Rintu Thomas

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Oscar Nomination Itself Is The Win, Says Writing With Fire Maker Rintu Thomas

Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh at the Oscars (Image credit: AFP)

Indian-made documentary Writing With Fire lost the Oscar but being nominated was itself a win, the makers told news agency PTI after the 94th Academy Awards. Writing With Fire was nominated for Best Documentary Feature – the first nomination in this category for a made-in-India film – and the Oscar went to Summer Of Soul (Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised). After the Oscars, filmmaker Rintu Thomas told PTI, “Writing With Fire found a space as one of the five films from the world up for the Best Feature Documentary – we believe that the nomination itself is the win. Representing India at the Academy Awards was extremely special.”

“As the first Indian feature documentary to be nominated, we are quite sure this has opened many doors for the Indian filmmaking community,” said Rintu Thomas, who attended the Oscars with co-filmmaker Sushmit Ghosh.

Writing With Fire, directed, produced and edited by filmmaker duo Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas, documents the story of Khabar Lahariya, a newspaper run by Dalit women journalists in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. It follows the publication’s chief reporter and crime reporter as they cover news in some of the country’s most troubled regions. Shot over five years, Writing With Fire was well-received on the film festival circuit and won a slew of prizes, including a Special Jury Award and the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival.

Last week, the Khabar Lahariya organisation released a statement accusing the documentary of not accurately representing them. Khabar Lahariya editor Kavita Bundelkhandi recently told PTI that they were proud that a documentary had been made on their achievements but wished it had been more rounded portrayal: “The documentary portrays our work inaccurately because it shows only a part of what we do, and shows that ours is only about one political party.”

Summer Of Soul, to which Writing With Fire lost the Oscar, depicts the events of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival or ‘Black Woodstock’ as it became known. Directed by musician Questlove, Summer Of Soul also has an Indian connect in producer Joseph Patel. The other three films nominated for Best Documentary Feature were Ascension, Attica and Flee.

(With PTI inputs)

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