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In southern Nepal, every five years at the Gadhimai festival, up to 500,000 animals- pigeons, pigs, goats, chickens, but mostly water buffaloes- are slaughtered in public. The festival took place the day after Thanksgiving. I was there to document the brave people working to stop it. With your support we will finish the film. Here's a collections of stills from what I witnessed.
History of the project:
In 2010, I spent eleven days in Nepal documenting the work of a young environmental and animal rights activist named Manoj Gautam. Manoj has protected elephants, snakes, vultures, monkeys and endangered species while advocating for humane treatment of circus and zoo animals.
Out of the footage from this trip, I made an award winning short film called “We Are In the Field”.
But this project was not finished.
Two years later, I found out that Jane Goodall was going to Nepal to visit Manoj. I wanted to witness the act of one inspiring leader reaching out and supporting another. So I traveled to Nepal with my camera and had the honor and privilege to spend ten days filming the two of them.
They spoke a lot about the Gadhimai festival. Apparently the tradition began with a priest 150 years ago, who had a dream that the goddess wanted blood. Jane and Manoj agreed that it was time for a new dream.
When Manoj first witnessed the slaughter at Gadhimai, he felt all his work was for nothing. If people are capable of doing this, he thought, what good is it to save a few leopards or vultures?
Eventually, he found his resolve, vowing he would do everything in his power to keep it from happening again. He asked me to return to Nepal and document his efforts.
That brings us to now. Gadhimai just took place- the weekend after Thanksgiving. Manoj has helped to organize a movement of Nepalese volunteers, spiritual leaders, NGO’s and even some government officials who are committed to stop this event from taking place in their country.
At first I felt like I didn’t even want to be there, to see it with my own eyes, let alone film this atrocity, but Manoj’s request stuck with me. I decided that if he is willing to take this stand for what he believes in, at great personal risk, then I need to be there, too.
I’ve seen the way Manoj approaches people and inspires them to treat animals with kindness. This is an incredible and beautiful thing to witness, his way of speaking to even the most hostile humans, and I want to capture this on film. My plan is to take the footage from the previous two trips and, along with this new chapter, make a feature-length documentary. My mission is to share Manoj's story to a wider audience.
That’s where you come in. I need your help to complete this film, and be witness to his courageous work. Your contribution will also allow us to hit the ground running when I get back, as I begin the editing process.
Our short term immediate budget includes:
Travel to and within Nepal for 8 days
Shooting costs in Nepal (security, supplies, production assistants, meals)
Initial Editing (logging all footage, create selects reel, edit a trailer)
Translations from Nepali to English
Funding beyond $10,000 will go towards the production of the full length film.
Please help to get the word out and make some noise about this project, for us and for future generations who will share this beautiful planet with the innocent creatures who co-inhabit it.
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Urge your company or group to become a sponsor.
Thank you very much!
Risks and challenges
It’s going to take a lot of resources to finish this film, to turn it from a short to a full length documentary. The funding we are seeking in this short campaign will pay for the expenses of making this trip to Nepal, and allow us to put this project in the position to approach backers and partner with like-minded organizations who can help us complete post-production.
We estimate the total amount needed to produce this film is $60,000. We plan to become fiscally sponsored in 2015 so that we can apply for grants and accept tax deductible donations as well.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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