the story of a 6 yr-old prankster living in a remote village in the mountainous
region of Ladakh, India. Followed by a posse of bright-eyed girls, Chuskit lives an idyllic life among snow-draped mountains. She and her friends can't
wait to be old enough to go to school the next year. On their way to the capital city of Leh during winter, her family encounters snowed-in passes forcing them to trek through a treacherous mountain pass to get to an accessible road. Chuskit falls down a ledge and becomes a paraplegic. Living in rugged terrain with very few modern amenities and where life is bound by the dictates of extreme
weather, what once was routine becomes daunting --even something as simple as walking up a hill and crossing a stream to go to the only school in the village. The twists and turns Chuskit's life takes -- some comic and some heartrending -- and
how she manages to eventually make it to school forms the rest of the story.
Its a tale of rejuvenation and rebirth in the face of adversity. Its a tale of new beginnings not just for her but for her whole family and for her village as well. Its a charming, touching, warm-hearted and very real story with a liberal smattering of humour and lightheartedness.
This film is close to my heart because my sister, Vidhya Ramasubban, has dedicated many years of her life to working on issues relating to the differently-abled in the remote regions of Ladakh. She is a founding member of a disability movement called People’s Action Group for Inclusion and Rights (PAGIR) in Ladakh. She is also a founding member a tour company called 'Himalaya on Wheels’ (HoW!), which caters to tourism for people with disabilities and the elderly -- a first of its kind in India.
I have been inspired and moved by her work, not just because she is my sister, but because her drive, commitment and passion inspires most people she comes in contact with. Like her friend Sujatha Padmanabhan, for instance, who wrote a children’s book ‘Chuskit Goes To School' based on Vidhya’s efforts to get one disabled girl to school. The book is a huge success in India and has traveled worldwide.
Ever since the book came out I have wanted to make a film based on it. We compiled anecdotes from Vidhya’s work over the last decade and wrote a story ...and then a screenplay…and then I put in my own money and organized a scout. And now we want to travel to Ladakh again to do a casting workshop and shoot a trailer/promo reel for the film.
This trailer/promo reel that will give potential producers a sneak peak into an endearing story set in an amazing location that will highlight a unique culture and raise awareness about issues that have stayed on the periphery of mainstream discourse for too long.
We desperately need your help during these early days so we can do a casting workshop, shoot the winter scenes and make a trailer/promo. We plan on shooting for 10 days and editing a 5 minute trailer/promo. Our budget is barebones considering the logistical challenges of taking crew and equipment to one of the most remote areas in the world. I have put in some of my own money and so has some of my extended family. And a couple of key people in the crew are working on this shoot without expecting to be paid. If we raise more money than my goal here then we can shoot all the winter scenes for the film, which will leave us with just the summer scenes to shoot before we go into post production.
This is a project that is close to my heart and I want to do everything I can to make it see the light of day. So I hope you will help me get this labour of love off the ground.
I’ve put together some thank you gifts that I think people will like. But if you’d rather have something else, please feel free to ask me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll try my best to accommodate your request.
Risks and challenges
This film will be shot on location in some of the remote areas of Ladakh set between 11,000 and 16,000 feet above sea level. The weather there is challenging, to say the least. All the gear and most of the crew will have to be brought from Mumbai, more than a 1000 miles away. In the winter sometimes, there are no flights for days due to weather conditions. And during those times, it takes a long and treacherous journey by road (sometimes these are blocked by landslides and we may have to manually clear the landslides in order to continue!) for two days to get to a place where there are trains and flights.
Weather, the terrain and the thin air are some of the most challenging things we will have to face on this shoot. But I am a seasoned filmmaker and have shot in some of the most challenging locations in the world from Gaza to Patagonia to Zimbabwe to Inner Mongolia. I plan my shoots meticulously and am able to execute every shoot close to plan. And when things don't go per plan, I think on my feet and use my experience in the business to get the job done and done well. I've never come back from any location without footage that I had planned on getting. But sometimes I come back with more than I had planned. And that is never a bad thing!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)