What if you wanted to help out the victims of the most catastrophic disaster ... but were not allowed to? Dhruv Dhawan's From Dust is the kind of inspiring documentary that typically has festival viewers pulling out their checkbooks at the end of a screening, but unfortunately its subjects are incapable of receiving charitable donations or any other sort of assistance. Trapped in the subsequent extensions of an already unbelievable tragedy, Sri Lanka's survivors of the 2004 tsunami are now also the victims of bureaucracy and greed.
Immediately following the tsunami, the Sri Lankan government issued a ban on the rebuilding of homes within 100 meters of the ocean. To ensure this mandate was followed, it spread rumors and issued false warnings to the media about more tsunamis being on the way. The government also forced the U.S. Army and relief organizations to follow the new rule, and even demolished any houses that were constructed or repaired if they were in violation. Meanwhile, citizens questioned the logic of such an edict since the tsunami had actually touched land nearly ten times past the distance of the buffer zone.