Tigers is a film by Oscar-winning director Danis Tanovic based on the true story of a former Nestlé baby milk salesman in Pakistan who took on the world’s largest food company with the help of the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN).
Tanovic’s 90-minute fact-based drama, which screens in Belfast for the first time on 10 December 2018, tells the story of Ayan, a young Pakistani sales representative for a multinational corporation making baby formula, who turns into a whistle-blower after realising that the product he is selling is the inadvertent cause of death in infants born to poor Pakistani families.
The International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) continues to campaign against aggressive and misleading marketing of breastmilk substitutes by all companies in the developing and industrialised world.
Baby Milk Action, a non-profit organisation which aims to save lives and to end the avoidable suffering caused by inappropriate infant feeding, was involved in an advisory role in the making of Tigers and is now helping to get the film screened throughout the UK.
Mike Brady, Baby Milk Action Campaigns Coordinator, said:
‘Co-writers Danis and Andy have done an amazing piece of work. Tigers accurately captures the tension of these true events when we were trying to bring Aamir’s evidence of marketing malpractice to public attention in a way that would keep him safe. With a deft touch, they also show the power of corporations and the challenges campaigners and journalists face in exposing them. Tigers will grip you whether you are interested in the baby milk issue or not.’
Patti Rundall, Baby Milk Action Policy Director, said:
‘Unlike the many documentaries that have exposed this problem over the years, this movie will not only entertain but will reach many more people at a very personal level – showing the pressure on those who work for these transnational corporations and the realities we face in our work when trying to stop human rights abuses. I am so grateful to Danis and Andy for never giving up on this film, and to Prashita Chaudhary and Guneet Monga for coming to its rescue.’
Dr. Maria Herron, from Code Monitoring NI, a group set up to discuss the WHO - UNICEF International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and monitor/report violations in Northern Ireland, worked with Baby Milk Action to make sure the film had a number of screenings in Northern Ireland. Speaking about the film, Dr Herron said,
“We hope the movie sparks a conversation and a debate. Many of the marketing tactics employed by the formula industry contravene the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk substitutes which was developed by the World Health Organisation in 1981, and agreed by almost every country. However far too many countries, including the UK, have still not fully adopted the Code into local legislation.
The baby feeding industry is exploiting parents and is making huge profits selling products, some of which are unnecessary and potentially damaging to child health including increasing the risk of diabetes and obesity. There is a need for independent unbiased information on infant and young child feeding, and the need for a more supportive infant feeding environment for families.”
The film has had a number of screenings in Northern Ireland already, in Craigavon and Derry/Londonderry in late November. After seeing Tigers in Craigavon, parent Louise Taylor posted a vlog on YouTube describing the film as “a hard hitting, horrific, sad reality about the babies of poor families in Pakistan who are given formula”. Louise also questioned the attitudes towards infant feeding in Northern Ireland which has the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world.
Two screenings of Tigers are scheduled for Belfast on 10 December 2018 at the Strand Arts Cinema at 11am and 6pm and tickets are available from https://www.strandartscentre.com/movies/tigers/.
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