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Leslee Udwin is a producer who has first hand experience with films making a difference. She had never directed a movie before, but when she heard about the rape and murder of Jyoti Singh and watched the protests that followed, she knew she had to travel to India to make a film about it. Her movie, India's Daughter, has screened around the world, with one notable exception: India itself. A court in that country blocked the film from broadcast, and it remains banned there to this day. Udwin tells about the blowback her film encountered and the great lengths she went to make and distribute the film.

Photo: India's Daughter director Leslee Udwin

Hollywood News Banter 6 MIN, 52 SEC

Matt Belloni, executive editor of the Hollywood Reporter joins Kim Masters to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

  • Growing protests call for NBC to rescind their offer to Donald Trump to host SNL on November 7. The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda and others are upset about comments Trump made about Mexican immigrants and feel that giving him such a huge platform legitimizes his statements. It seems unlikely that NBC will back down though because Trump is such a ratings draw.
  • In a bummer of a fall TV season, one show finally soars. CBS's Supergirl had a strong debut both in terms of ratings and critical reception. Every year, people ask why the networks continue to rely on superheros, and this seems to be the answer -- people watch them. 
  • The newest James Bond movie, Spectre, looks like it's set to have a record-breaking weekend in Britain. For Sony, the studio behind the film, those numbers will be somewhat tempered by the fact that the movie was very expensive to make -- it cost somewhere between $250 and $300 million. After this film, it's unclear if Sony will continue to be in the Bond game. The one thing we know for sure is that Daniel Craig will not be doing any more Bond films. He said he'd rather cut his wrists than do another one.

Matthew Belloni, Hollywood Reporter (@THRMattBelloni)

Leslee Udwin, 'India's Daughter' 20 MIN, 28 SEC

The documentary India's Daughter focuses on the horrifying rape and murder of medical student Jyoti Singh in Delhi in December 2012 and the vocal public reaction to the crime.

Televised reports of those protests, which turned violent when authorities responded with tear gas and water cannons, transfixed British filmmaker Leslee Udwin. She had never directed a movie before, but she was an experienced TV and film producer who had spent some time in India.

So, Udwin set out to make a film about this incident that shocked the world. She went to India, where she interviewed the victim's parents, as well as the families of some of the men convicted of the assault. But the most controversial aspect of her film India's Daughter was an extended interview with one of the rapists, now in prison and sentenced to death.

That man's view of the crime was that the rape was the victim's fault because she was out at night. It's a sentiment echoed by his lawyers, who also appear in the film.

India's Daughter has been screened on TV stations and in movie theaters around the world, but it's never been broadcast in India. A court in that country blocked the broadcast days before its air date last March. Udwin, who was in India at the time, blames ads that had been created by Indian station NDTV to promote the film. The ads featured excerpts of the convicted rapist's sensationalist comments, without any context or other clips of the film. A judge banned the film based on these trailers alone, without seeing the rest of the film. A warrant was also issued for Udwin's arrest .

Udwin says she ignored the advice of seven different lawyers who told her to flee India after her film was banned. She did, however, managed to leave the country before she could be arrested.

While the film remains banned in India, it has aired elsewhere, including on the BBC in the UK. It will run on the PBS show Independent Lens in the U.S. on November 16 and is playing in theaters in New York and LA.

Leslee Udwin, filmmaker (@lesleeudwin)


Kim Masters

Kaitlin Parker

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