Indian documentary ‘Silent Screams’ wins U.S. festival award

A documentary film about politics of rape in India has bagged three awards at the 2014 New York Festivals International TV and Film Awards.

“Silent Screams — India’s Fight Against Rape” directed by Pria Somiah and written by Manira A. Pinto won a Gold World Medal for ‘Best Investigative Report’ as well as two Bronze Gold Medals each in the ‘Current Affairs’ and ‘Human Concerns’ sections respectively.

The film follows journalist Namita Bhandare as she meets rape survivors, law-makers and enforcers, activists and lawyers to understand the politics of rape and the plight of victims in their fight for justice.


The trigger for the documentary, produced by Miditech for Channel NewsAsia was the brutal gangrape of a 23-year-old in Delhi on December16,2012 and the subsequent rising up of people across the country to express shock and outrage.

In exclusive interviews, Nirbhaya’s parents and brother describe her last few days, repeat achingly sad conversations and demand justice for her brutal and unnecessary death. The film also investigates the case of a 15-year-old Dalit girl.

It also looks at the role of the judiciary and the police in the case that came to be known as the ‘Kolkatta Park Street case’.

A protest following the 2012 New Delhi rape

Director, Pria Somiah, said, “The survivors we met in the making of the film were not weak or frightened women. They were brave, strong-willed and determined women and girls who wanted justice.”

“They wanted their families and the community to shift the shame to the perpetrator. They wanted the conversation to change over who is to blame for rape. We wanted the film to document what has come to become an important milestone in the women’s movement not just in India but the world over,” she added.

Scriptwriter Manira A. Pinto said that it was an honour to script “Silent Screams”.

“Nirbhaya’s story is a universal story, just as rape is, which is why it sparked a nation’s conscience and made the world sit up and take note of it,” she said.

The film has already won the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union – Perspective Award 2013, in Hanoi. It has been screened at the Mumbai Women’s International Film Festival 2013, Mountain Echo’s Festival in Bhutan and distributed across colleges, NGOs and legal aid organisations across the world.


New York Festivals International TV and Film awards, currently in its 57th year received entries from over 50 countries over a variety of categories. The jury chose winners amidst competition from 700 entries.

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