Skip to main content


Canada, 2004 (MIFF 2005, Documentaries)

Director: Michael Kot

[Shipbreakers] is a portrait of the vast and polluted Indian port of Alang, Gujurat, where some of the largest ships afloat come to die. About 40,000 people live and work in Alang, dismembering by hand and scavenging the remains of 300 vessels every year for eight cents an hour. One Alang worker dies every day, evaporated in gas explosions, torn apart by breaking cables or crushed by unstable loads of scrap metal. Ship owners rarely abide by the UN conventions on the dumping of toxic waste, and the shipbreakers, who survive the daily peril of their job, succumb to asbestosis or cancer from PCBs that flow into the ocean from the rusted hulks. In the timeworn tradition of exploitation, workers come from impoverished villages throughout India to work in Alang. Their bosses push them dangerously to meet the quotas, corruption prevails and the Indian government worries about the media's outcry regarding human rights. [Shipbreakers] is an astounding story of survival, greed, geopolitics and environmental disaster with international consequences. It's a Bhopal waiting to happen.
D/P Michael Kot P Ed Barreveld, Peter Starr WS Johanne St-Arnauld (NHB) TD video/col/2004/70mins

See also...

Casuistry: the art of killing a cat

[Casuistry: The Art of Killing a Cat], which premiered at last year's Toronto Film Festival, is an examination into one of Canada's most notorious, abhorrent animal cruelty cases. This challenging ... More »


The Corporation CanadaThe CEO of Interface, a massive global manufacturing conglomerate, thinks this planet can support life for 30 to 50 more years and then it's lights out! Mark Achbar ... More »


Go Further Canada'Dubbed 'The next Bowling For Columbine' at last year's Toronto Film Festival. A much needed dose of levity for the eco-movement, Ron Mann's (Twist, MIFF 1993; Grass MIFF 2000) road ... More »


Filmmaker Gary Burns pushes the boundaries of the documentary genre in unanticipated ways in this study of modern suburbia. The suburbs - the dominant form of community planning in North America for ... More »


Sadomasochism has had a long, rich and quite painful history. Guiding viewers, and voyeurs, on a tour through this leather clad underworld, TOPS and Bottoms manages to link the brutality of the ... More »


A perfect and timely companion to Guy Maddin's latest feature, Twilight of the Ice Nymphs, Noam Gonick's penetrating documentary is a thorough study of emerging genius displaying the matchless ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director