I need $8925.00 to complete production of my documentary film "Sherpa Stew."
While shooting my first documentary film, "Team Everest: A Himalayan Journey," I became interested in learning more about the Sherpa on our expedition. Like most expeditions in Nepal, "Team Everest '03" relied heavily on the expertise and hard work of the Sherpa people who were hired as assistants, cooks and guides. With their assistance, the expedition achieved two historic firsts: It was the largest cross-disability team ever to reach Mount Everest base camp, and the team's leader was the first person with one arm to summit Mount Everest. (www.teameverestthemovie.com)
We all hear about the "Western" climbers who have summited Mount Everest and the records they have set, but what about the Sherpa who climb with them and often lead the way? Who are they and what are they like? What path did they take to become elite mountaineers and where do they go after reaching the top of the world?
Some go to New York City.
A couple of years ago I learned that one of the Sherpas who had summited Mount Everest on the expedition had since moved to New York City. "New York City?" I wondered. "Why would a Sherpa from Nepal move to New York City?"
To make a living.
When I caught up with him, Nima Dawa Sherpa, a two-time Everest summiteer, was cutting vegetables in a Thai restaurant in New Jersey. Three-time Everest summiteer, Kipa Sherpa, was running his own a store in a flea market on Broadway, selling "Got Beer" belt buckles, suitcases and imports from Nepal.
I have since learned that there are over two thousand Sherpa from the Himalaya of Nepal living in New York City. A few among them have summited Everest, and that is where the story for "Sherpa Stew" begins.
I began shooting "Sherpa Stew" in New York City in March 2009 and completed the New York component of the story by late summer. (The footage above offers a brief glimpse of the story and images gathered during filming in New York City.) I plan to travel to Nepal in late May 2010 to continue filming. There I'll visit the Himalayan village of Nima Dawa Sherpa where, as a four-year-old, he began his mountaineering career carrying bundles of sticks through the mountains. As an adult, Nima Dawa would not only summit Mount Everest twice, he would also return to build a three-room schoolhouse in his village.
In Kathmandu, I will interview Kipa Sherpa's 18-year-old son who Kipa had to leave behind when his son was only nine years old. His son has excelled in school in Kathmandu and waits for government permission to finally move to the U.S. where he hopes to join his family and attend college. While he waits, his sister, who moved to the U.S. with her mother and father, will become the first college graduate from their family.
While in Kathmandu and in the Himalaya, I will also interview other Sherpa climbers, some of who will be be returning from recent summit successes (and failures), as it will be the end of the spring climbing season.
Where the Funding Will Go:
To date, "Sherpa Stew" has primarily been self-financed, and working as a one-man crew has helped me keep the budget low. But traveling to Nepal is expensive, and the remote locations I will travel to will require me to be there at least a month. Funding will go towards traveling to and within Nepal, as well as hiring translators and a local production assistant. Additionally, funding will help the film continue through production and perhaps some of post-production. But what I am most excited about is that this film, I hope, will help give the Sherpa a voice, and offer the audience some insight into the lives of these wonderful people from the Himalaya of Nepal.
Our hope is that "Sherpa Stew" will be screened at film festivals around the world, perhaps enjoy a theatrical release and eventually air on U.S. and international television.
Thank you for supporting this film!
Director, "Sherpa Stew"
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