Born Into Brothels is the winner of the 2005 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
The film is about the stigmatized people in Sonagachi, Calcutta's red light district, not the prostitutes, but their children. In the face of abject poverty, abuse, and despair, these kids have little possibility of building a different life.
Directors Ross Kaufmann and Zana Briski chronicle the amazing transformation of the children they come to know in Sonagachi. Briski, a professional photographer, gives them lessons and cameras, igniting latent sparks of artistic genius that reside in these children who live in the most sordid and seemingly hopeless world. The photographs taken by the children are not merely examples of remarkable observation and talent; they reflect something much larger, morally encouraging, and even politically volatile: art as an immensely liberating and empowering force.
Born into Brothels defies the typical tear-stained tourist snapshot of the global underbelly. Briski spends years with these kids and becomes part of their lives. Their photographs are prisms into their souls, and a true testimony of the power of the indelible creative spirit.