Have you ever asked yourself: “Do people that we see in documentaries ever get a chance to watch the films that have been made about them? If they do, what do they have to say about them?”
WHAT’S IT ABOUT? (short version)
A street cinema project (Bato Ko Cinema) is turning Nepal’s public spaces into an open-air street cinema, and reaching out to the most remote places in the Himalayas. Inspiring, educating, and spreading awareness, this project is also bringing the stories back to their rightful owners. The Bato Ko Cinema team will go the remote area of Mid-West Nepal in order to screen the films that were made in the region, but never seen by the people who live there and are portrayed in them. The impact of cinema and the importance of storytelling will be captured in a short film shot along the way by filmmakers and researchers Matjaz Pinter and Eva Pivac.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT? (long version)
Nepal is a popular destination for filmmakers, mountaineers, adventurers, wild-life lovers and researchers. There has been a great number of films shot about Nepal, from short and documentary films to feature films. Apart from those that depict the adventures and mountaineering expeditions, there is an important tradition of filmmaking in Nepal that consists of non-fiction films that portray the people of the Himalayas, their culture and history. Such films have a great importance in showing the world how people lived and still live in the remote Himalayan hills and many have great anthropological and historical importance.
The majority of these films were premiered at international film festivals, screened in cinema halls all around the world, they were often shown on television, but rarely have they been seen by the people that they portray. In most cases, people who were the main subjects of the films, never got a chance to see themselves on the screen. In the remote villagers of the Himalayas there are no cinemas, no TV signal, and therefore no chance to see such films.
Following the ideas and example of Michael Oppitz, who filmed the Shamans of the Blind Country in the region of Rukum in 1977-1979, the film crew will hold film screenings in remote villages of Mid-West Nepal, and produce a short film about returning the films to the region where they were produced. Michael Oppitz was the first filmmaker to have shot a film in Rukum district, and also the first one to organize public film screenings of his film in the villages. We would like to return to the region with his film Shamans of the Blind Country, and other films that portray the villages in the last four decades.
Joining forces with Bato Ko Cinema, a project that turns Nepal’s public spaces into an open-air street cinema, researchers and filmmakers Matjaz Pinter and Eva Pivac that work and live in the area of Mid-West Nepal, will shoot a short film on the impact of cinema and the importance of what is being seen, and by whom. The project will provide a platform to educate, encourage critical thinking and spark debate. It will bring the forgotten stories back to their rightful owners, and show the young generations that this remote region has its own rich history that has been visually preserved.
Matjaz Pinter and Eva Pivac will engage in all of the events through the camera lens and gather material for a short film which will be the final result of the project. As researchers and filmmakers they know the area well, as they have lived there for several months, and have previously shot a movie in the village called Takasera. Collaborating with local filmmakers and artists they will engage in a filmmaking process that will result in a short film depicting the impact of the Himalayan Cinema project. We want to share the film for the world to see that there is no place the power of cinema couldn’t reach.
The screenings are going to be held in four villages in Rukum and Rolpa districts in Mid-West Nepal. The goal of the project is to have two screenings days in each village, organize discussions after the films, and in order to make this a memorable event, paint a mural in every village that will mark the important role each village has played in the history of Nepal’s film.
The project will move from village to village in the following order:
- Thawang, Rolpa
- Takasera, Rukum
- Maikot, Rukum
- Musikot, Rukum
The films screened in every village are the following:
Shamans of the Blind Country by Michael Oppitz (1981), Journey to Yarsa by Dipendra Bhandari (2011) Takasera by Matjaz Pinter and Eva Pivac (2016), Namkah (Bhumya) Parba, by Hikmat Singh Rokamagar.
Our team of volunteers will depart from Kathmandu to the remote districts of Rukum and Rolpa in mid-March. We will carry all the necessary equipment with us from one village to another on foot, as there are no roads between them. We will start our screenings in Thabang and continue our journey towards Takasera, Maikot and Musikot. In each village we will create an outdoor cinema for the screenings in the evenings, however the screening days will not only consist of the evening’s activities. During the day the team will prepare a children's programme, screening short animated and educational films.
MURALS: THE TRIBUTE TO THE ROLE AND IMPACT OF CINEMA
An important part of the project is also to paint a mural in collaboration with a local artist to commemorate the event and encourage discussions. The villagers will be active participants in all the activities. The mural will serve as a long-term reminder depicting the importance of visual arts and preserving culture in the area.
WATCH THE MOVIE WITH US
We would like to invite you to “join us” at one of the screenings. The film Takasera was shot in one of the villages in 2015 and will be among the screened movies. Takasera is an observational documentary that depicts the everyday life in Takasera, the cultural centre of the area. From now on it is available online for project supporters (check gift options). Supporters that want "to join" for the screening of Takasera, will receive online access to the movie.
HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED
Bato Ko Cinema would like to go to more remote places in the future, and bring the cinematic experience under the skies of the Himalayas. We care about film and the community and there are numerous project you can get involved in. For more, visit us bkc.sattya.org or follow us for updates and photos at facebook.com/BatoKoCinema
Risks and challenges
In order to complete the screenings in every village the team will have to carry the gear across the hills of Mid-West Nepal. Overcoming such difficult terrain will not be a problem. Members of the team already have vast experience with trekking and mountaineering in Nepal and are used to visit and live in the remote places of the Himalayas.
The filmmaking, the screenings and the mural painting will be supported by the village communities and working closely with them is a vital part of the project. The team will collaborate with the local artists, village cultural committees and others that will help to make the project happen.
This 3-week long project will be only possible if we are able to gather enough financial support that will cover the day to day expenses of the team, and help to ensure the safety of all participants along the way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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