WHILE WE WATCHED
Production company: LONO Studio
World premiere: Toronto International Film Festival
While We Watched is essential viewing for anyone interested in how television journalism is under threat. Although the film is rooted in India, its depiction of misinformation eroding fact-based news could apply to any number of countries from Russia to the United States.
At the centre of the film is veteran reporter Ravish Kumar of India’s NDTV who strives to uphold standards of independence and accountability. “Our job is to ask the most difficult questions to those in power,” he says. But every day, he faces a new set of challenges: budget cuts, staff departures, mysterious obstructions, and even death threats. His station struggles to compete against the rising popularity of channels that replace news with zealots shouting down their opponents. Decades ago, writer Paddy Chayefsky satirized a dark trend line for TV news in Network, but the reality documented in While We Watched goes beyond anyone’s worst predictions.
Director: Vinay Shukla
Writers: Reshma Ramachandran, Amaan Shaikh, Abhinav Tyagi, Vinay Shukla
Editor: Abhinav Tyagi
Producer: Vinay Shukla, Khushboo Ranka, Luke W. Moody
Executive Producers: Maxyne Franklin, Jess Search, Beadie Finzi
Cast: Ravish Kumar, Sushil Mohapatra, Swarolipi Sengupta, Sushil Bahuguna, Saurabh Shukla, Deepak Chaubey