Sarvnik Kaur: Against the Tide

One more documentary film from which I learned – this time about the koli fishing community in India close to Bombay. And one more documentary film where beautiful friendship is conveyed and forms the foreground of extremely difficult life conditions with a struggle to have a family life. Built around scenes in the families, celebrations, fishing, selling the fish, visits to the city and doctors and first of all conversations between the two male protagonists with drinks on the table, the film brings the viewer into understanding how hard Life can be and yet: Remember you are a Koli, you fear nothing. The Sundance catalogue text is precise when it comes to content, so here it is: 

”Rakesh and Ganesh are so close, they consider themselves brothers. Both are fishermen of Bombay’s Indigenous Koli community, but they’ve taken contrasting paths. Rakesh uses his inheritance — his father’s boat and the knowledge passed down by generations of Koli fisherman — to fish in the traditional ways, while Ganesh — who was educated abroad — has instead embraced modern, technology-driven, and environmentally destructive methods of deep-sea fishing, causing increasing friction between the friends. But with declining fish populations caused by pollution and invasive species, neither man is finding much success, adding to the burdens facing their young families, and testing the bonds of their brotherhood.”

India, 94 mins., 2023

Photo: Sarvnik Kaur, director

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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