The Sari Soldiers

A film by Julie Bridgham

US/Nepal | 2008 | 92 minutes | Color | DVD | Nepali/English | Subtitled | Order No. 09950

SYNOPSIS

Filmed over three years during the most historic and pivotal time in Nepal’s modern history, The Sari Soldiers is an extraordinary story of six women’s courageous efforts to shape Nepal’s future in the midst of an escalating civil war against Maoist insurgents, and the King’s crackdown on civil liberties.
When Devi, mother of a 15-year-old girl, witnesses her niece being tortured and murdered by the Royal Nepal Army, she speaks publicly about the atrocity. The army abducts her daughter in retaliation, and Devi embarks on a three-year struggle to uncover her daughter’s fate and see justice done. The Sari Soldiers follows her and five other brave women: Maoist Commander Kranti; Royal Nepal Army Officer Rajani; Krishna, a monarchist from a rural community who leads a rebellion against the Maoists; Mandira, a human rights lawyer; and Ram Kumari, a young student activist shaping the protests to reclaim democracy. The Sari Soldiers delves into the extraordinary journey of these women on opposing sides of the conflict and the democratic revolution reshaping their country’s future.

PRESS

“Bridgham's overarching portrait of political upheaval is compassionate and insightful, …the director discovers a symbol of both inspirational human rights advocacy, and the terrible tragedy of tyranny.”

Nick Schager Slant Magazine

“Unforgettable…exemplary. Reveals a changing world and compels us to acknowledge the importance for reconciliation…in reconstructing our country. These women are true revolutionaries.”

Dr. Bidya Ranjeet President, The Nepali Women’s Global Network

“Captures ordinary women’s extraordinary lives and reveals them as important pieces of history. Anyone concerned with social justice, gender justice and human rights should see [it].”

Rama Lohani-Chase Women’s and Gender Studies Dept., The College of New Jersey

“Highly Recommended…vivid and alive. An excellent documentary of a people’s struggle to adapt to change within their country and bring about solutions.”

Educational Media Reviews Online

"Impressive.… Give[s] credence to the old feminist saw that if women were given power, they would speedily put an end to war."

Ronnie Scheib Variety

“Balanced, moving and comprehensive…. It also shows how circumstances can radicalize even the most middle-of-the-road people. Something we should pay more heed to given the current state of world affairs.”

Amber Wilkinson Eye for Film

“Often women are shown as simply victims of war and violence. The Sari Soldiers presents them as active participants in the fight for justice and human rights.”

Marie Lo The Asian Reporter

“Tough, multilayered…. inspiring, infuriating, and sometimes hard-to-watch… underscores the old but still noteworthy point that the female body is one of the great casualties of war and political strife.”

Ernest Hardy The Village Voice

“Near perfect. It accomplishes the tenuous balance that only the best documentaries can provide.”

Katherine Don Feminist Review

“Deeply moving and wonderfully crafted…. The inspiring stories of the six women… remind us of the significance of civil courage and the presence of justice.”

Cape Times

"With its emphasis on self-representation and its nuanced perspectives, The Sari Soldiers also reveals the voices of women who suffered from both the state military and the Maoists. The film portrays women's emergence as leaders, and it presents opportunities to discuss how gender roles shift with changing socio-economic structures."

Rama Lohani-Chase Films for the Feminist Classroom

SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS

  • Human Rights Watch Film Festival, NY, Nestor Almendros Prize
  • WATCH DOCS Human Rights in Film Int’l Film Festival, Feature Length Competition Special Mention
  • Rencontres International Film Festival, Camera as Activist Award, Best Socio-Political Film
  • Tri-Continental Film Festival, India, Grand Jury Prize
  • Brooklyn International Film Festival, Spirit Award
  • One World Film Festival, Prague, Special Jury Mention
  • Sausalito Film Festival, Best of Festival Award
  • Boulder International Film Festival
  • Citizen Jane Film Festival
  • Rubin Museum of Art
  • Human Rights Watch Film Festival, London
  • Human Rights Watch Film Festival, Buenos Aires
  • Human Rights Watch Int'l Traveling Film Festival
  • International Documentary Association, DocuWeeks
  • DOC NZ International Film Festival, New Zealand
  • Seattle Human Rights Film Festival
  • Boston International Film Festival
  • Brooklyn International Film Festival
  • Sarasota Film Festival
  • Toronto Human Rights Watch Film Festival 
  • Pravo Ljudski Human Rights Film Festival, Sarajevo
  • India International Women’s Film Festival
  • Festival International du Film des Droits de l'Homme, Paris
  • The Female Eye Film Festival, Toronto
  • International Women's Day
  • Kathmandu Mountain Film Festival
  • Walker Art Center, MN
  • The Himalayan Film Festival, Amsterdam
  • Seattle, Film, Faith and Justice Festival

ABOUT FILMMAKER(S)

Julie Bridgham

Julie Bridgham is a Sundance Institute Documentary Fellow, and the Director and Producer of the award-winning documentary, THE SARI SOLDIERS, for which she received the 2008 Nestor Almendros Prize for courage and commitment in human rights filmmaking. Over the past six years, she has lived for extended periods in Nepal where she produced and directed numerous documentaries including several documentaries for the United Nations and the films INDENTURED DAUGHTERS, a documentary on Nepali girls sent into bonded labor, as well as the films HOPE IN THE HIMALAYAS and CHILDREN OF HOPE for the Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation. She has produced and directed numerous documentary series that have taken her around the globe, including "Exotic Islands”, and the series "Royal Families of the World,” as well as documentary series for the BBC, the Discovery Channel and TLC. Before working in documentary television, she worked in Costa Rica as a Project Officer for an environmental project with the United Nations, and in Bolivia as a researcher for a human rights organization. (11/08)

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