This is a breathtaking and unforgettable film that delves into the lives of four Hijras (transwomen) residing across Bangladesh and India, as they explore love, community and what it is to call home.
In March 2019 we successfully completed a short of Body of Our Own from a week of filming in Dhaka. The short was received at a private screening with an overwhelming amount of love. But working with the girls for this short period, highlighted the complexities of the situation the Hijras were in and how much more of the story needs to be told. That's why we are here now and why we need your help to make this documentary into a feature - Project Website
Click 'Support Us' to select an award through this site.
Through the film we want to provide a space for these Hijras women to vocalise the hurdles they are facing in society so the world can be inspired by their resilience and strength. By deconstructing myths around the Hijras this humanises them and hopefully lessens the fear around them. More Info here.
This film will explore and challenge gender, sexuality, and class in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The audience are taken through the mosaic lives of Neshi, NoorJahan, Jannat and Momo, as they battle for acceptance in a predominantly Islamic society. We see them fall in love, fight for their right to work and survive in a Hijra community. As the Hijra start to gain more rights in Bangladesh we will document how this manifests itself within the community. If these legislations have legitimate effect, or if it is tradition, that yet again stands in the way of progress… More info here.
Hijra is a culture and community in South Asia. The west will recognise these Women as; hermaphrodites, castrated men and transgender women. They partake in the culture and activities of Hijra Giri which include begging, performing and blessing babies. Guru Ma’s head the many family structures of Hijras across Dhaka & South Asia. More info here. More info here.
Neshi’s detailed stories were always told with such personality which was why we felt she was a strong principle character. Her main line of work is traditional Hijra Giri; begging and blessing babies as well as sex work at night. Momo, Jannat and NoorJahan are our secondary characters. More info Here.
3 x A3 colour posters
BTS from our shoot in October 2019. Printed on Fotospeed Smooth Pearl from D studio.
1) NoorJahan in between Fabric
2) Photo of Jannat on her mirror
3) Jannat practicing for the dance performance that night
These recycled cotton t-shirts are manufactured at Rapanui's factory. Please purchase through this site, not the manufacturer. We were really attracted to their process and supply chain because they not only protect their workers, but also the planet. The writing is a quote from the film in Bangla and it is translated as:
“Like others, I want to live in our society with my head held high.”
We are selling a mens' style t-shirt. Please check sizing on the manufacturing website.
Up-cycled coin pouches
Made from leftover waste around Rahemur's studio. Each pouch will have a little surprise in them.
This site doesn't allow for a variation in postage destination costs and so we've averaged out final figures to make it possible to ship the products world wide. Packaging included in final figure.
The directors greatly believe in protecting the planet and people and so we've spent time looking into the best products that aren't just adding to landfill waste. Email [email protected] for anymore questions about this.
Lily Vetch is an experienced photographer and film-maker known for documenting the complexities of being queer within the South Asian community in London. Vetch’s valuable expertise in directing and producing films is teamed with Rahman’s access.
Being a queer British Bangladeshi, Rahemur Rahman has created a fashion brand celebrating his identity and the rich cultural heritage of naturally dyed textiles. Through his exploration in Dhaka in textiles, Rahman has built relationships with local creative individuals from all genders and classes. This network is how this film has access to a transparent never seen before portrayal of the Hijra community.
Co-Director & Co-Producer:
Lily Vetch is a film-maker and photographer based in London. She has shot and directed for brands and publications including i-D Magazine, Hero Magazine, L’Oreal, Khiel’s, Sony, Rahemur Rahman, Jameela Jamil, Elle India, The Uyghur Tribunal and the TATE Museum.
Co-Director & Co-Producer:
Rahemur Rahman is a fashion designer and activist, focussing on work around gender neutrality and sexuality within the South Asian community highlighting good sustainable fashion practice. Having recently come out to his family as a gay man, his personal connection to the subject gave the project a richness as well as a thorough understanding of the cultural problems in Bangadesh around the LGBTQi+ community.
Producer & Impact Producer in Bangladesh:
Lara Salam is a producer, writer, and creative consultant. She has worked for organisations like UNICEF, the BBC, National Geographic, the Nike Foundation, World Bank, and Warner Bros; her work has appeared in publications like Vogue and Deux Magazine.
Dec/Jan - Second trip to Bangladesh
May 2022 - Third trip to Bangladesh
This schedule is COVID dependant check back here and on our social channels for updates.
Fees for producers/directors - £3,500
Equipment - £6,440
Travel/transport - £3,800
Perdiems - £1,000
Legals - Finance
Contingency @ 10% - £2,074
Total - £22,814
This is the budget for only our first hurdle: the second trip out.
This will change over the course of the project. Please check back here and on our website for updates.
We are very lucky to have the support and guidance from two amazing charities that focus on Hijra welfare and rights. The safety, when exposing these women’s identities, is something that is being steered and advised by everyone involved in this film. We are incredibly lucky to also have subjects who are open and have granted us access into their lives knowing that this film will be for public consumption. More info here.
Some words from people who really know their stuff...
Joya is a transgender rights activist who has been working in Bangladesh for 20 years. She is the founder and currently the President of Somporker Noya Setu (SNS), an organisation that works to ensure rights of members of the transgender and LGBT communities through advocacy, mobilisation, sensitisation workshops and policy dialogues.
Dee is a BAFTA nominated film producer. Her work includes MCQUEEN, a documentary on Alexander McQueen which premiered at Tribeca in 2018 and was nominated for two BAFTAs. Prior to this Dee accumulated extensive experience within the TV and film industry working on major Hollywood blockbusters, documentaries and multi returning documentary series aired on NAT GEO, DISCOVERY CHANNEL, HISTORY CHANNEL, PBS to name but a few.
Senior Researcher, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch
Shale Ahmed - Dhaka, Bangladesh
Shale Ahmed is the Executive Director of Bandhu Social Welfare Society, a Community led Organization working on improving sexual health and promotion & protection of rights of Sexual & Gender diverse populations across Bangladesh since 1996.
Robert Miller - London, United Kingdom
Rob Miller (executive producer) began his career working for a human rights organisation before crossing over into documentary. He has over fifteen years experience of developing and producing documentaries for UK broadcasters.
DOP - Michael Filocamo
Production Sound Mixer - Masrur Rahman Masud
Editor - Chloe Hardwick
Assistant Editor - Ollie Paxton
Post-production sound designer - Edward Guy
Colourist - Liz Glennard
Translator 1 - Amiya Nandita Dewan
Producers/directors: Lily Vetch & Rahemur Rahman