Preview Oscar nominee for Best Documentary on Tuesday

Steamboat Pilot & Today
The award-winning documentary, “Writing With Fire,” follows a handful of incredible journalists who work for India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women.
Courtesy photo

The Bud Werner Library’s Indie Lens Pop-Up series will offer a free screening of “Writing With Fire,” an Oscar-nominated documentary that follows the five-year journey of the journalists of Khabar Lahariya.

This free screening will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, in Library Hall, serving as a sneak peek before the Academy Awards and the PBS premiere.

In the midst of a media landscape dominated by men, the reporters with Khabar Lahariya — India’s only newspaper run by Dalit, or “low caste,” women — take it upon themselves to cover their country’s inequities with unflinching determination. Armed with smartphones, these journalists traverse the state of Uttar Pradesh, exposing government misconduct, rape culture and rampant corruption.

“Writing With Fire” follows the ambitious group of Dalit women, focusing on staff reporters Suneeta Prajapati and Shyamkali Devi, in addition to Meera Devi, as they transition from print to digital and learn to harness the power of online media.

Filmmakers Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh journey with the women as they travel around rural India to report on abuses of patriarchy and government malfeasance, their efforts taking them into people’s homes, police offices, the frontlines of major government elections and more.

Lauded as “the most inspiring journalism movie — maybe ever” by the Washington Post, “Writing With Fire” is Thomas and Ghosh’s debut feature documentary. The film had its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival in 2021, where it was a double award winner, scooping up both the World Cinema Audience Award and Special Jury Award: Impact for Change.

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