Cleveland International Film Festival } March 25 – April 5, 2020 } Tower City Cinemas



Year: 2015
Country: INDIA
Run Time: 82 minutes


The ugly horrors of child trafficking are examined in Pankaj Johar’s enlightening documentary CECILIA. Johar and his wife, Sunaina, live in New Delhi. When their maid, Cecilia, learns her 14-year-old daughter, Mati, has died, the Johars join her in a lengthy legal ordeal. Was Mati murdered? Did she kill herself? Who is responsible? The young girl represents thousands of children taken from poor villages and sent to work in India’s cities. Cecilia’s anguish grows as she receives little help from the police or the people back in her village (who are being threatened or bribed). On the upside, we are introduced to justice-seeking child labor activists, including Nobel Peace Prize-winner Kailash Satyarthi. The film also tracks the Johars’ frustrating journey and the toll it takes as they crash into walls of confusion and corruption. They are trying to be part of the solution, but they are also part of the problem. India’s rising middle class has created a boom in the demand for domestic help, which in turn only fuels the traffickers. (In English, Hindi, and Bengali with subtitles) –C.O.

CIFF40 Screenings

Tower City Cinemas

Wednesday, April 06, 2016 at 2:10 PM

Thursday, April 07, 2016 at 7:15 PM

Women of the World

Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Competition

Pankaj Johar

Pankaj Johar is a former accountant who shifted careers to become a television producer and then a documentary filmmaker. He co-founded the New Delhi-based Penny Wise Films in 2008.

"Still Standing" (2010), CECILIA (2015)

Pankaj Johar, Sunaina Kapoor

Pankaj Johar

Pankaj Johar

James Valiakulathil

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