South Side Film Institute partners with Lehigh University’s Digital Storytelling Cluster Initiative

Digital Storytelling Cluster Initiative & SouthSide Film Institute partnership:
Thursday, September 20 • 7:00 PM • Victory Firehouse, 205 Webster St., Bethlehem

Victory Firehouse is located on the corner of Webster and Columbus; one block north of 3rd street. Entrance is off the street, behind the building directly from the parking lot. Easy walking distance from campus.

Soma Girls (2009) explores the lives of girls growing up in a hostel in Kolkata, India. From ages 6 to 17, the film follows these intelligent, funny and high-energy girls as they overcome extraordinary circumstances to lead ordinary lives.

Film Synopsis: “Soma Girls”

If recent news reports are to be believed, India has been feted as the next global superpower. However as India flourishes with an influx of corporate monies and urban development cities like Kolkata are dealing with a dark underbelly of urban issues. Kalighat is one of the largest red light districts in the city with most of the sex workers coming from outside Kolkata; some from as far away as Nepal and Bangladesh. But whatever their origin, their reasons for being in the profession are mostly the same: they were tricked, forced, or sold into the trade since they were teenagers or younger.

The chances that the children of sex workers will be forced to earn their living similarly is very high. With this in mind, social worker, Urmi Basu started Soma Home, a hostel for girls. The 30 girls living in the home are mostly daughters of sex workers or come from poor families and run the risk of being forced into prostitution. Because of that risk, Soma Home has been placed far away from Kalighat and is therefore inaccessible to the pimps that ‘manage’ the mothers of many of these children.

Each girl at Soma Home is painfully aware of their individual circumstances but yet they play, dance, study and speak of wanting to grow up, to become independent and find a way to get their mothers and sisters out of the trade.

More information on the film’s blog/website:

Cranes of Hope

The National Crane Project was inspired by David Heard (2000-2011), a boy from Easton, PA who bravely battled Neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer.   David wanted to place mobiles of 1000 origami cranes in pediatric cancer centers around the country.  David’s parents, Tom and Susan, partnered with Lafayette College theater professor Mary Jo Lodge, are working to bring David’s dream to fruition.  Together with an army of volunteers from across the country and around the world, the National Crane Project is installing mobiles in hospitals, schools, libraries and nursing homes to inspire hope for healing in pediatric cancer patients.

For some heart-tugging perspective on childhood cancer, we add this video inspired by David Heard’s story,

“Soma Girls” and “Cranes of Hope” Documentaries screening followed by a Q & A session
Nandini Sikand, Co-Director, Assistant Professor, Film and Media Studies, Lafayette College
Made possible through the generous support of a Lehigh University Cluster Initiative Development Grant
Co-Sponsors: Digital Storytelling Cluster Committee, SouthSide Film Institute, and The Weinstock Center for Journalism