Sent Away Boys (Harjant Gill, India, 43mins)

What happens to families in the absence of sons? What happens to land in the absence of farmers? What happens to communities in the absence of men? Sent Away Boys weaves together testaments of individual ambitions and family biographies from Punjab, India to chronicle the gradual transformation of agrarian landscape and patriarchal traditions through ongoing transnational migration. As the promise of a secure future in agriculture grows increasingly uncertain for young men across the region, escaping India to join the low-wage labor in countries like Canada and USA becomes their sole aspiration. In rural Punjab, being a successful man now entails leaving their village, traveling abroad, and sending money home. Through interviews with men preparing to undertake often risky journeys and women awaiting the return of their sons, brothers and husbands, Sent Away Boys shows how young men's decisions to emigrate implicate families and communities across North India. 

About the Director

Harjant Gill is an assistant professor of anthropology and cultural studies at Towson University, Maryland. He received his PhD from American University in Washington DC. His academic research examines the intersections of masculinity, modernity and migration in India. Dr. Gill is also a documentary filmmaker and has made several films that have screened at film festivals worldwide and won numerous awards. His previous documentary, Roots of Love explored the changing significance of hair and turban among Sikhs and is being screened on BBC World News, BBC America, and Doordarshan (Indian National TV). He is currently also the co-director of Society for Visual Anthropology Film and Media Festival. 

Trailer

Awards/Screenings

  • Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival, 2016
  • Viscult Festival of Culture, 2016

This film screening will be preceded by the screening of Mardistan