Last night, James and I went to see Born into Brothels at the Glenn Gould Studio at the CBC building (directed by Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman). It was the winner at the 2004 Academy Awards for best documentary feature, and it’s easy to see why. It evoked laughter, tears, hope, despair, and was so inspiring, I was glad I brought my camera along so I could snap some pics on our way home.

The film follows the plight of Zana Briski (aka Zana Auntie), a photographer living in the red light district of Northern Calcutta, and her attempts at getting a select group of children out of the village and into boarding schools. The abuse and environment these kids have to contend with is horrendous, and you see how resilient these children are, have to be, just to survive. Their stories of pain and suffering, inevitable as they describe it, should be told by people four times their age. Hearing it from 10 year old children made my heart crack open.

The snapshot above is of the photo exhibit at the CBC building, photos the children had taken. Zana Briski initially moved into the red light district to photograph the working women, but soon grew close to the children, and started teaching them how to take photographs. My favourite child was a young man named Avijit, a born artist who has won numerous awards for his paintings and was chosen by World Press Photo to be part of their Children’s Jury in 2002. He got to visit Amsterdam, and we got to see the trip; it was the most uplifting part of the film.

The film is being shown on CBC Newsworld tonight at 10pm, and the photo exhibit will be displayed at the CBC building until then. Zana Briski also heads up the foundation called Kids with Cameras, which uses photography classes to empower less fortunate children all over the world, giving them hope and self-confidence.

George Stroumboulopoulos hosted the screening, and it was wonderful meeting him. He’s the host of the greatest news show on television, The Hour. Man, is he hot. He is like, the perfect man, for me, if I had to pick just one. Anyways- here’s a pic of him and James. I was stupid nervous meeting him. Stupid! Hopefully I’ll get to go see a taping of The Hour, which he invited us to!

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