A heartbreaking secret emerges for an Indo-Candian family: a relative sexually abused three of the sisters for years.
After nearly two decades of silence, we meet sisters Jeeti, Kira and Salakshana Pooni, now adults, at the end of their court case against their abuser. Director Baljit Sangra deftly captures the emotional journey the women face not just navigating the justice system but confronting their family for standing by while the abuse happened.
BECAUSE WE ARE GIRLS explores the impact of sexual abuse on a traditional Punjabi family and shines a light on the nuances of gendered violence and the cultural systems that reinforce and perpetuate the trauma of abuse. Through intimate interviews spliced with home videos and old Bollywood footage, Sangra paints an intimate portrait of a family on their journey toward healing. —Ashlyn Perri
THIS FILM IS AVAILABLE ON DEMAND AND INCLUDES Q&A.
About the Filmmaker: Baljit Sangra is a Vancouver-based filmmaker who uses documentary and factual entertainment to explore social and cross-cultural issues. A six-time Leo Award nominee, Sangra’s films have routinely premiered at festivals around the world. Her most recent project is the NFB-produced feature documentary Because We Are Girls, exploring the impact of sexual abuse on a family. Her previous documentaries include the award-winning Many Rivers Home, a personal story about seniors living in assisted care at the end of life; and Warrior Boyz, examining the long-running gang scene unique to the Indo-Canadian enclave of BC’s Lower Mainland; Hockey United, which follows two amateur South Asian hockey players with their eyes on the NHL. She also produced an E TV series VIVA! for CityTV; Channel M/Omni for several seasons. Baljit runs her own production company Viva Mantra films and has line produced several international projects from all over the globe. Sangra is currently a Co-chair of the BC chapter of Documentary Organization of Canada and previously sat on the board of the Vancouver Asian Film Festival.
Co-Presenter: 3rd i South Asian Film
In this emotionally compelling short, acclaimed director Baljit Sangra shines light on North American’s oldest running Sikh Temple and the struggle it represents.