Asian Cinema Fund 2018

2010 Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund

Project Please Don’t Beat Me, Sir!
Category PIFF Supporters Fund
Project Please Don’t Beat Me, Sir!
Director Shashwati TALUKDAR & P. Kerim FRIEDMAN
Country India, USA, Taiwan
Director's Profile Shashwati Talukdar, Director/Producer, began working in film and television as an assistant editor for a TV show by Michael Moore (1999). Since then she has worked on projects for HBO, BBC, Lifetime, Sundance and Cablevision. In 2001, she produced a documentary on Mahasweta Devi, an eminent writer and activist, who is revered by the Chhara community. Her films have screened at venues including the Margaret Mead Festival, Berlin and the Whitney Biennial. She has been supported by entities including the Jerome Foundation, NYSCA, and IFP Project Involve Fellowship. P. Kerim Friedman, Director/Producer/Cameraman, has earned a PhD and taught in ethnographic film and photography since 1993. Currently, he is assistant professor of Indigenous Studies at National Dong Hwa University, Taiwan. He divides his time between Taiwan and India. Please Don't Beat Me, Sir! is his second documentary and first feature.
Please Don't Beat Me, Sir! leads us into the lives of Budhan Theatre, a group of young Chhara tribes who are considered as ‘born criminals’. Using Theatre as a weapon, these young people fight against a corrupt police system and against criminal identity internalized by their elders. Above all, this documentary is about the power of art. We see theater used as a form of non-violent protest against police brutality. We also see theater being used to challenge traditional gender roles within the community. And we see the role of theater in giving the young actors an alternative vision of their future.
Director's Note
The first time we saw Budhan Theatre performance was in the fall of 1999 at a conference on Denotified and Nomadic Tribes (DNTs). Raw intensity of their performance betrayed the suffering of their communities from today’s police and society. So moved were we by this performance that we were determined to do what we could to help when we heard that Budhan Theatre's director and playwright, Dakxin, had been false in 2003. Fortunately, Dakxin was released, but our time with the dedicated young actors of Budhan Theater had convinced us that there was a bigger story to be told, one which we have been working on ever since.
Still Cut