Private Project

Because We Did Not Choose

Because We did Not Choose | Documentary | 92 mins | English | Khasi |Welsh | Pnar (with English subtitles).
100 years have passed since the First World War began- the war that was the beginning of all wars. Nations and communities all over the world have directly or indirectly been affected by it. Some of these experiences are evident today while some have been internalised as time glosses over pages of history. ‘Because we did not choose’ looks at the First World War and the involvement of communities at a time when spaces inhabited by them were transitioning or struggling to accommodate modernity and the rest of its implications. Shot over a period of 4 years, this is the only film from India that examines the participation of indigenous labour in the theatres of First World War.
The film is a meticulous documentation of the journey made by the labourers from North East India to the war front. Research and filming was carried out in Shillong and other adjoining villages, Guwahait, Kolkata, Chennai (where the German sinker Emden struck a portion of Fort St. George in 1914) France, Wales and England. The film was also shot in France with the help and support of the Commonwealth War graves Commission.

  • Wanphrang K Diengdoh
    Where the Clouds End, Between the Forest and the Song, 19/87
  • Wanphrang K Diengdoh
    Where the Clouds End, My Name is Eeeoww
  • reddur productions, Goethe Zentrum Hyderabad, Govt. of Meghalaya
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 32 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    March 18, 2017
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    France, India, United Kingdom
  • Language:
    English, Welsh
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Nehru Centre, India High Commission
    United Kingdom
    September 13, 2017
  • Atrium
    United Kingdom
    October 4, 2017
Director Biography - Wanphrang K Diengdoh

Wanphrang K Diengdoh is an independent filmmaker and founder of red dur, a production space for films and music. His work encompasses films, music videos, and installations that delve into the culture and politics of his hometown. Notably, in 2019, he directed a noir-feature “Lorni-the Flaneur” set in Shillong, featuring Adil Hussain as an unemployed detective investigating missing objects in a small town. The film premiered at the prestigious Tallinn Black Nights Film festival, representing the only Indian film competing in the First Feature Category. In 2017, Wanphrang completed "Because We Did Not Choose," a film on indigenous labor's involvement in World War I, which took four years to create and premiered at the Indian High Commission in London. In 2015, he directed "Between the Forest and the Song," exploring the song naming tradition in Kongthong village and its impact amidst modernity. Wanphrang also co-wrote and edited "My Name is Eeooow," which won Best Film at the Royal Anthropological Institute's Ethnographic Film Festival in the UK and the Festival della Lessinia in Italy. Additionally, his documentary proposal "Where the Clouds End" received the Early Career Film Fellowship from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, addressing tribal identity and border politics. The film premiered at the United Nations World Urban Forum, Medellin Colombia in 2015. His debut short film "19/87" received multiple awards at the GISFF Film Festival in 2009, and he was awarded the Public Arts Grant for his installation "Kali Kamai" in the same year, which reached the semi-finals of the International Awards for Public Arts in the South East Asian and Middle Eastern region. Wanphrang is also involved in music documentaries and is part of the politico-punk band Tarik, as well as producing music for other acts.

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