'Not Today' Film Exposes Plight of Dalits, Human Slaves

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By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter
March 11, 2013|12:24 pm

Cork highlighted, however, that the whole initiative started back at the Pipe Village he visited in 2007, "where God kind of rocked me, and showed me his heart for the oppressed and the poor."

One obstacle when it came to making "Not Today," most of which was shot in India, was the Indian government, which does not like showing how Dalits really live.

As a result, many westerners either do not know about Dalits, or believe that the problem is only confined to rural areas. Cork shared, however, that the reality is very different.

"It is widespread across the country," he said about the abuse and discrimination Dalits face. "The government would try to say that there is no caste system, so there is no discrimination. But all you have to do is go there and see that that is not true. Is the percentage higher in the rural areas? Yes. But it happens out in the rural side, the city, everywhere."

The executive producer of "Not Today" said that it was nothing short of a "miracle" that the movie got made, seeing how many obstacles they encountered along the way.

"We had major challenges getting the permits. If you go online, it says 'send in your application and the script, and you'll be able to get approval to come to our country and film' – that was not the case," Cork explained.

"We had been given verbal approval. We sent our director over, Jon Van Dyke, just to make sure that everything was in order right before we got the cast."

The pastor revealed, however, that once they arrived, it took another six weeks to even get the necessary approval, providing a strain to cast and crew members.

"They first of all denied us our script," Cork said of Indian officials they had to deal with.

"They denied the title, they denied the movie, we had to rewrite it, we had to rename it, and then at all times there was a government liaison that was with us during shooting – and he would review the script before it was put on screen. They were very cautious of what was taking place and what we were going to shoot. And then police would come on site as well."

Cork revealed that of the many locations the film crew picked for filming, they were unable to shoot at 80 percent of them because of police intervention.

"It was chaos for the two weeks," the executive producer continued. "It was a spiritual battle, and a government battle. What we got on film was quite unbelievable after all we went through."

U.S.-made movies that depict certain aspects of foreign cultures in a negative light often get criticized for exposing such unflattering realities – and Cork admitted that "Not Today" will likely be met with mixed reviews in some parts of India.

"It depends on who you are," the pastor said of the potential reaction to the movie in India.

"I think that the Christian public, who will probably be the main one that will see this movie, and those wanting to bring about change will admit that that is there. Many of the Indians who have seen this, they love the film because it portrays their people in a light that is truthful and honest," Cork added.

"It wasn't just about being against the government of India, it was about trying to take this atrocity down."

The target audience for the film, Cork said, are churchgoers, particularly the young adult-college age group.

"We look at that age demographically, and we believe that they want to be mobilized to change the world," the Friends Church pastor explained. "If this movie can be the catalyst for conversation, the catalyst for us to begin our worldwide movement – that is our prayer."

"Not Today" has already won the Best Justice Film award at the Justice Film Festival in 2013, the Best of the Fest for Narrative Feature at the Richmond International Film Festival, the Best Narrative Feature for the 2012 Pan Pacific Film Festival, and the Best Breakout Performance for an Actress for Persis Karen, who plays the little Indian girl in the movie.

It has also been gaining the endorsement of a number of popular Christian artists, including Dove Award-winning and Grammy nominated singer Kari Jobe, who recorded one of the songs for the movie, "What Love Can Do" (produced by fellow Dove Award-winning artist Ed Cash).

"We all have to play a role and do our part to fight against the plague that affects 27 million people and growing," Jobe said. "It's so incredibly dark, and I feel a responsibility to do what I can. Most of these victims are girls like me, and I can't imagine what life would be like in that place."

"'Not Today' is definitely a movie that you have to see," the worship singer urged.

The movie opens in theaters on April 12. For listings, visit  www.nottodaythemovie.com. 

 

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