Chittagong is a seaport in southern Bangladesh that has become the center of a thriving industry in the Third World — breaking up old and obsolete ships and selling the scrap metal, usually to construction firms. Chittagong has become a center for dismantling old ships for two reasons — the sudden rise of the ocean floor into shallow areas by the beach make the coastline ideal for the work, and there’s an abundance of cheap labor willing to perform the dangerous, back-breaking work of tearing apart the ships by hand for minimal wages.
Filmmaker Shaheen Dill-Riaz spent several months filming workers in Chittagong as they slowly took apart giant freighters with little more than simple hand tools, and his documentary Iron Eaters is a portrait of the beauty of Bangladesh’s coastline as well as the drama and danger of men who work under difficult and often life-threatening conditions for as little as a dollar a day. Iron Eaters was an official selection at the 2008 London International Documentary Festival.
IRONEATERS won the 2007 Grand Prix award at the Festival International du Film d’Environnement in Paris. It also won the 2007 Ram Bahadur Trophy for Best Film at the South Asia Film Festival in Kathmandou. It will be screened on Tuesday 26th February at 6.30pm. Entrance is free.