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The Film

High tide on the Arabian Sea: an aging tanker rushes toward a sandy shore at full steam. There it joins other beached mountains of steel to be taken apart by barefoot men with blowtorches. It may be the world's most dangerous job with flying five-ton slabs of metal, drops from precarious perches, and explosions of flammable gas endangering the workers.

Welcome to the ship breaking yards of Alang, India, where the world's oceangoing ships come to die. Tens of thousands of Indians live and work here, systematically dismembering, by hand, the hulks of hundreds of vessels every year, piece by piece.

Shipbreakers is a visually stunning portrait of this vast maritime graveyard. It follows the daily lives of workers and owners who will spend months toiling from sunup to sundown to methodically destroy enormous vessels with little more than acetylene torches and back breaking effort.

The shipbreakers come from villages throughout India risking life and limb to dismember the largest moving objects on the planet. They live beside the shipyards, sometimes for years at a stretch, eating, sleeping and socializing in a shantytown that exists solely to supply feed to this incredible enterprise.

The owners worry about schedules and making a profit - margins are slim - and the investors have several million dollars at stake. The government worries about the industry's profile in the world press, health and safety of the workers in the yards and keeping the economy going.

Shipbreakers is an international story of human tenacity, Third World labor and geopolitics unfolding on the shores of India.



  • Festival de Films sur les Droits de la Personne de Montreal/ Montreal Human Rights film Festival (2006)

  • Viva Gaia! Ecological Film and Video for the 3rd Millenium – Rome, Italy

  • LA Harbor International Film Festival – Los Angeles, USA

  • Milano Film Festival

  • CinemAmbiente / Environmental Film Festival - Torino, Italy

  • International Film Festival of Human Rights - Barcelona, Spain

  • Seoul Green Film Festival

  • Melbourne International Film Festival

  • Human Rights Film Festival - New Zealand

  • Banff World Television Festival

  • Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival

  • Planet in Focus - International Environmental Film & Video Festival 2005

  • Thessaloniki Documentary Festival Images of the 21st Century

  • Ecofilms Rhodes International Film & Visual Arts Festival

  • Global Visions Film Festival - Edmonton

  • Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal

  • Mar del Plata International Film Festival - Buenos Aires

  • Canadian Images – Vancouver International Film Festival

  • Beyond Borders – Calgary International Film Festival



  • Gemini Award - Best Photography in a Documentary Program

  • Golden Deer - Ecofilms Rhodes International Film & Visual Arts Festival

  • Winner of Deborah Fletcher Award - Canadian International Development Agency

  • Golden Sheaf Award - Best Nature/Environment Program - Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival

  • Golden Sheaf Award - Best Direction, Non-Fiction - Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival

  • Gemini nomination for Best Picture Editing in a Documentary Program

  • Nomination for Rockie Award for Best Canadian Program - Banff World Television Festival

  • Nomination for Golden Sheaf Award - Best Sound, Non-Fiction

  • Canadian Society of Cinematographers Nomination for Best Shooting in Documentary

  • Nominated for Best Canadian Documentary – Calgary International Film Festival

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"An eye-opening journey driven by local music." -Milano Film Festival

"An unforgettable portrayal where Third World ingenuity meets 21st century global economics" -Min Sook Lee - Planet in Focus

"A unique outing... a rare and shocking insight into an unsafe workplace" - Andrew Ryan - The Globe and Mail

" Storyline has certainly scored with this amazing visit inside the massive, corroded shells" -Jim Bawden - Starweek Magazine

" Storyline brings a fascinating story to the eyes of the world" -Binoy Thomas - Weekly Voice

“ Shipbreakers is an inspirational example of what can be achieved through investigative journalism and documentary film” -Sarah Caufield – The Peak

“Your film has contributed to the knowledge and understanding of Canadians about international development issues”. -Honourable M. Aileen Caroll, Minister for International Cooperation

"Lucid, spellbinding" -Lise Treutler - The McGill Tribune

"Never has a death trap looked so visually stunning"-Meg Hewings -

"Shipbreakers powerfully traces this First World detritus as it washes ashore" -Brian Gibson - VueWeekly

"Visually arresting and pointedly informative" -Kevin Wilson - See Magazine

"Fascinating!" -Angela Baldassarre - Tandem

"Thought provoking" -The Link Newspaper

“It’s hard to imagine a darker film than Shipbreakers” -Mirror

"Compelling" -Bill Brownstein - The Montreal Gazette

“(Director) Kot takes the time to view the issue from all sides… … the towering ships themselves prove an endlessly impressive photographic subject” -Tom Charity - The Vancouver Sun - ***

“a striking Canadian documentary” -Bob Clark – Calgary Herald

“Shipbreakers is a mesmerizing film as compelling for its visuals as it is for its insights” -Louis B. Hobson – The Calgary Sun

“Shipbreakers captures all the horror and the glory of this festering boil on the earth’s hide…. The appalling reality of the shipyards is treated with a compassionate, even hand” -Ian Doig – FFW

“Shipbreaker uses expertly crafted sequences in a manner that lets their condemnation come through without resorting to sensationalism. -James Wegg – ****

"Shipbreakers offers a startling portrait of the vast and polluted port of Alang, where ocean-going ships come to die” -Calgary International Film Festival

“an eye-opening journey… …Shipbreakers’ cinematography is truly sublime” -Vancouver International Film Festival


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Canadian Sales

Storyline Entertainment

International Sales

National Film Board of Canada

National Distribution 1-800-267-7710
USA Distribution 1-800-542-2164
International Distribution 1-514-283-2703

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