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SECRETS OF THE DEAD: Mumbai Massacre

Airs Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Police looking for attackers outside Colaba, Mumbai, India 2008.

Credit: Courtesy of Vinukumar Ranganathan/Wikimedia Commons

Above: Police looking for attackers outside Colaba, Mumbai, India 2008.

Mumbai, November 26, 2008: What began as a typical day in a buzzing cosmopolitan city devolved into a nightmare of explosions, gunfire and death when terrorists attacked. The world watched in horror as the escalating violence was broadcast live across the globe. But within the walls of the besieged hotels, a social networking revolution was taking place. Even as the terrorists watched CNN to find out where their victims were hiding, the prisoners were texting with terrorism experts, passing information to specially set up user groups, and even searching the web for plans of the buildings to coordinate their escapes.

Told completely from the victims' perspective using their own words, voicemails, texts, and user-group postings, "Mumbai Massacre" places viewers inside the deadly cat and mouse game as it played out. It captures the desperation and courage of ordinary people in the face of extraordinary events, and explores how social media became a survival tool and a witness to the violence and horror.

Actor Liev Schreiber ("Taking Woodstock" and "X-Men Origins: Wolverine") narrates. SECRETS OF THE DEAD is a production of THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG – one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.

This program originally aired in 2009. SECRETS OF THE DEAD is on Facebook.

SECRETS OF THE DEAD: Mumbai Massacre

Timed for the first anniversary of the attacks in 2008, "Mumbai Massacre" brings viewers survivor accounts, closed-circuit footage from within the hotels and actual words spoken by victims and terrorists. Told from the perspective of the victims, the film places viewers inside the maelstrom, where they become witnesses to the critical events and decisions that meant the difference between life and death.

"Mumbai Massacre" Discussion Panel on the Making of the Film and Terrorism

Presented as part of THIRTEEN Forum, Director Victoria Pitt, Executive Producer Jared Lipworth, author Mira Kamdar (@MiraKamdar on Twitter), and Al Jazeera correspondent Todd Baer join Columbia Journalism School’s Sree Sreenivasan (@sreenet on Twitter) for a discussion about the making of SECRETS OF THE DEAD "Mumbai Massacre" and the events surrounding the November 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. Presented in partnership with SAJAforum.

A State of Siege: South Asian Journalist Aseem Chhabra Interviews Writer/Director Victoria Pitt

Aseem Chhabra is a freelance writer in New York City who writes on a variety of topics, including arts, entertainment, social and political issues stories. He is an elected member of the board of the South Asian Journalists Association and the New York Chapter coordinator of SAJA, where he often chairs panel discussions on social and political issues, hosts book reading events and other arts discussions. For The Aseem Chhabra Show, an online video series that features extensive interviews with artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians and other creative minds writing about South Asia or the South Asian Diaspora, Chhabra interviewed "Mumbai Massacre" filmmaker Victoria Pitt. In her conversation with Aseem, Pitt describes her emotional experience covering the harrowing attacks and takes us inside the corridors as the siege unfolds. Catch part one of the interview.

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