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


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


Shanti Thakur

Shanti Thakur’s visually poetic films have screened at over 200 international film festivals and museums including the Cannes Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and won 24 awards.

Crossing various genres, Red Tulips, A Story about Forgetting (2012), Sky People (2008), Kairos (2002), Seven Hours to Burn (1999), Two Forms (1998), Circles (1997), and Domino (1994) have broadcast in 22 countries. Working as director, writer, editor and producer on her films, Shanti has received support from the National Film Board of Canada, the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, the Independent Film Project (IFP) and the Pew Fellowship in the Arts.

She is Associate Professor in Film and Media production at Hunter College, City University of New York. She lives and works in New York City. (8/14)

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