The Revolutionary Optimists

Director: Maren Grainger-Monsen, Nicole Newnham | Countries of production: India, United States | Year: 2013 | Length: 95 min
Language: Bengali with English subtitles

Screened as part of TOAFF14

Amlan Ganguly doesn’t rescue children living in the slums of Kolkata; he empowers them to become change agents, battling poverty and transforming their neighborhoods with dramatic results.

Filmed over the course of three and a half years, The Revolutionary Optimists follows Amlan and three of the children he works with on an intimate journey through adolescence, as they fight for the better future he encourages them to imagine is deservedly theirs.

Hot-headed, theatrical, but astonishingly dedicated and sincere, Amlan left a successful law career with the intention of enabling children to participate in the decisions and factors that affect their lives. Kajal, a twelve-year-old girl, lives and works inside a brick field, where she has created the first school. Priyanka is the sixteen-year-old leader of a dance troupe designed to keep girls in school and dissuade them from early marriage. Salim is an eleven-year-old boy in one of Kolkata’s worst slums, who is mapping their community and collecting data in the hope of convincing the government to give them a water tap.

Can these child activists bring about desperately needed change in their own community?

inspiring…a vital snapshot of developing world struggles and possibilities.
The Los Angeles Times

people could learn a lot from these little activists
The Washington Post