Wednesday, May 14, 2008

DOXA Film Festival: Diamond Road

The DOXA Film Festival is taking place in Vancouver from May 27, to June 1. Among those films being shown are this gem (no pun intended), sponsored by MiningWatch Canada:
Diamond Road
Thursday May 29 | 9:00 pm | Pacific Cinémathèque

Field Director: Nisha Pahuja, Canada, 2007, 100 minutes

North Americans frequently associate diamonds with love. These rocks have most often been seen as the ultimate sign of true love, in the form of the engagement ring. In recent years, however, we have had the opportunity to learn more about the search for the hardest and most sought after gem. The main thing that we’ve learned is that it can be a bloody business. But who is involved, and can the diamond business become a more ethical one?

Twenty-four tons of diamonds are mined worldwide each year. Many people will help move the gems through the “pipeline.” In Diamond Road we get to meet some of the individuals who bring diamonds to the market. The path of the stones crosses five continents, and they move through the hands of prospectors, miners, cutters, jewelers, gem brokers, dealers, soldiers and smugglers.

An orthodox Jewish-American broker speaks at huge diamond industry meetings, discussing conditions in African mines to convince his colleagues to pay miners a fair wage. Seen as a trouble-maker, he travels with bodyguards wearing a bulletproof vest. Met with blank stares by his audience, he tries to team up with an African-American designer who specializes in making diamond jewelry for millionaire hip-hop artists. They travel together to Sierra Leone to meet some miners in person.

We meet a young Indian boy who is enrolled at a very young age as an apprentice to become a diamond cutter. India is now home to the best diamond cutters in the world. We attend an unbelievably lavish wedding within one of India’s richest “diamond families.”

Diamond Road examines these stories and others to bring us closer to the people whose lives revolve around diamonds. We experience the dreams and desires as well as the greed, conflict and tragedy within this complex, international business. A more personal look into this world has not been captured on film before.
Director Biography

Nisha Pahuja is a documentary filmmaker, researcher and writer based in Toronto. Her directorial debut, Bollywood Bound was screened at numerous film festivals across Canada, the U.S., Asia and Europe to excellent review. It was widely telecast in North America and Asia. Pahuja’s print writing has appeared in Elle magazine and various arts and fiction anthologies. Five years ago, she read an article about the diamond trade and was instantly hooked by the story.

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