Seven Hours To Burn

A film by Shanti Thakur

USA/Canada | 1999 | 9 minutes | Color/BW | 16mm/DVD | Order No. 01699


"A visually expressive personal documentary that explores a family's history. Filmmaker Thakur mixes richly abstract filmmaking with disturbing archival war footage to narrate the story of her Danish mother's and Indian father's experiences. Her mother survives Nazi-occupied Denmark while her father experiences the devastating civil war in India between Hindus and Muslims. Both émigrés to Canada, they meet and marry, linking two parallel wars. Their daughter lyrically turns these two separate histories into a visually rich poem linking past and present in a new singular identity." Doubletake Documentary Film Festival Catalogue


"Exceptionally imaginative...dreamlike...a visually compelling film."

Paul Curci Philadelphia City Paper

"Impressionistic cinematography is juxtaposed with searing archival images while spare narration combines with a nuanced sound design. The viewer is swept into the mood of the piece and must consider the long-lasting effects--both internal and external --of conflict and change."

Kristine Samuelson Stanford University

“Shanti Thakur brings her biracial sensitivies to bear on historical traumas that shaped her parents' separate, but parallel, experiences. Images of past ethnic and religious "cleansing" come poignantly to the fore as she sits by her Indian grandmother's corpse burning on the banks of the Ganges, and seeks peace (her name) for herself, her family, and the world.”

Rosane Rocher University of Pennsylvania


  • Belo Horizonte International Short Film Festival
  • BBC British Short Film Festival, England
  • Robert Flaherty International Film Seminar, New York
  • Nashville Independent Film Festival
  • Northwest Film Center at the Portland Art Museum
  • Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
  • Brooklyn Arts Council International Film Festival
  • Mill Valley Film Festival, San Francisco
  • Maryland Film Festival
  • Leipzig Documentary and Animated Film Festival, Germany
  • Right to Have Rights Film Festival, Modena, Italy
  • One World Film Festival, Ottawa, Canada
  • Santa Cruz Documentary Film Festival, Los Angeles
  • Vermont International Film Festival
  • Cinematheque Ontario, Canada
  • Shorts International Film Festival, New York
  • Asian American International Film Festivals - San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York
  • Museum of Natural History, New York
  • American Short Shorts 2001, Tokyo
  • Cannes Film Festival - Emerging Filmmakers Venue
  • CineWomen New York - Best Documentary Short
  • Margaret Mead Film Festival
  • Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema
  • Pacific Film Archives, Berkeley
  • Black Maria Film and Video Festival - Director's Choice Award
  • Cleveland International Film Festival, Best Documentary Short
  • Big Muddy Film Festival, Bronze Award, Experimental Film
  • Tampere 30th International Short Film Festival, Finland
  • New York Expo of Short Films - Gold Prize, Documentary
  • City Paper's Philadelphia Independent Film Contest - Best Documentary
  • Edinburgh Film Festival
  • Nextframe Film Festival - Best Documentary and Best Editing
  • Columbus International Film Festival - Bronze Plaque
  • Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival - Bronze Award
  • Ann Arbor Film Festival
  • Aspen Shortsfest 2000
  • Doubletake Documentary Film Festival
  • THAW 2000 Film Festival
  • Humboldt International Film Festival
  • Athens International Film Festival, USA


Shanti Thakur

Shanti Thakur's visually poetic films have screened at over 200 film festivals and museums around the world. Screenings include: Cannes Film Festival, Hamptons International Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival, Margaret Mead Film Festival, Flaherty Seminars and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Thakur's films explore how we perceive each other and ourselves through the lens of history, memory and identity. Working easily between documentary, experimental and narrative modes, her films Red Tulips, A Story About Forgetting, Sky People, Kairos, Seven Hours to Burn, Two Forms, Circles and Domino have won 26 awards. Her films have broadcast on the Sundance Channel and PBS, as well as in 22 countries.

Be it short or feature length, she works as director, writer, editor and producer. Thakur has received support from the National Film Board of Canada, the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, the Independent Film Project (IFP) in New York and the Pew Fellowship in the Arts. She is Associate Professor in the MFA Program in Integrated Media Arts at Hunter College, City University of New York. For more, visit (07/19)


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