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‘Gauri’ bags best documentary award at South Asian Film Festival of Montreal

“Gauri,” a documentary based on slain journalist Gauri Lankesh, directed by her sister Kavitha Lankesh, has won the “Best Long Documentary Award” at the South Asian Film Festival of Montreal 2023.

The film portrays the life of Gauri Lankesh, journalist and activist, who was assassinated in 2017 due to her criticism of right-wing Hindutva politics. It sheds light on the daily physical and verbal threats faced by journalists in India.

The 12th edition of the Montreal South Asian Film Festival showcased 58 films, including many Canadian premieres and award-winning works, from various countries in the Indian subcontinent and its diaspora worldwide.

The documentary “All That Breathes”, which was an Oscar nominee, was also in competition and won the runner-up prize.

The award citation commends the documentary for its courage, unwavering determination, and its ability to capture the current crisis in Indian politics.

 “A brave and uncompromising pulse-taking of the current crisis in Indian politics, focusing on the 2017 political assassination of trailblazing Bengaluru journalist Gauri Lankesh. A “J’accuse” docu-thriller directed and narrated with verve by Gauri’s sister, Kavitha Lankesh,” read the award citation.

The documentary was commissioned by Free Press Unlimited in Amsterdam, whose mission is derived from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Prior to this, the film also received the Best Human Rights film award at the 2022 Toronto Women’s Film Festival.

The Oscar-nominated documentary “All That Breathes,” directed by Shaunak Sen was also at the festival and secured the runner-up prize. It portrays the story of two Muslim brothers caring for injured birds.

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