What is "Mustang Rising?"
MUSTANG RISING weaves the story of one woman and two men from Mustang who are striving to better their communities, within the backdrop of a nation under extreme political volatility. Mustang, like most of the northern regions bordering Tibet, is economically deprived and lacks basic social services. Today, after a decade of insurgency and rising poverty, 1.9 million Nepalese out of a total population of 26 million, now work as migrants in other countries. Many Mustangi youth are among them. Some have remained and attempt to sustainably develop the region through renewable energy.
Who are the subjects?
MUSTANG RISING captures the impact of an ongoing socio-economic change and migration in Nepal, by touching briefly on the stories of two young men who have decided to leave their home for a better life in the cities. Yet, within this sea of change, one woman and two men have decided to stay behind (my main subjects).
Tashi Bista, a local activist is spearheading initiatives to bring a windmill for sustainable power to Upper Mustang. He is attempting to install a pilot wind turbine in a small village near the border of Tibet. This turbine would help to light several houses and a school.
Dikee Dolker Gurung, has worked at the Lo Manthang Community Library for several years now and has started a project to install four 80 watt panels to power a television set, photocopy machine and audio player for educational purposes.
Tselong, a young nomad, organizes his life from within a tent and makes his annual journey to Banares, India to sell clothes. Together, these stories will offer a portrait of the harsh reality faced by the youth in the region, who are being forced to choose between staying behind to build on what they already have or leaving with the aspiration to build a better future for their families.
What kind of documentary?
This 60-minute vérité film will lead us into the lives of Tashi Bista, Dikee Dolker Gurung and Tselong, mirroring the struggles of a fragmented nation. The film will follow the subjects through their problems as they attempt to install these new technologies in one of the most remote regions of Nepal. Will they be successful?
Where is the money going?
The funds raised from kickstarter will be used for the second trip to Mustang at the end of July to go follow up with all the subjects. The money will go towards air travel from Kathmandu to Jomsom, living costs and the return flight. We have also applied to a grant (Justfilms).
Production notes: Mustang is a region known for its remoteness and inaccessibility until recently. Evocative shots will capture the beauty of the landscape and monasteries. The film will utilize traditional Mustangi music. Production of the film begins on May 12th when I arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal. I plan on arriving in Lo Manthang, the former capital of Mustang, for Teeiji festival on May 15th. My initial trip will last for five weeks after which I will travel back to Kathmandu with Mr. Bista. My second trip to Lo Manthang will begin on July 25th for about two weeks. I plan to travel back to Lo Manthang in October for a third and final trip, for two weeks, prior to the arrival of the harsh winter.
The film is currently in production. Postproduction will begin in October 2012 and rough cuts will be screened in March of 2013. A fine cut of the film will be screened for the SVA Social Documentary Department by the end of April 2013. The online edit including the sound mix and color grading will take place over the summer and finally screen at the School of Visual Arts Theater in New York City in September of 2013.
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