Friday, September 01, 2006

The Escape

I shot "The Escape" in 2006, as a student at the New York Film Academy in Paris. The six week course taught us how to direct good films. This film features actors who are not Nepali--because all the Nepalis I knew where working, or  unable to take a day off to shoot a student film. I am grateful to the actors of different nationalities who did show up to be in my low-budget production! I hope viewers will see this film for what it is: a homage to cinema, and a homage to the people who suffered through, and survived, the civil conflict in Nepal.

The film is inspired by a story told to me by a schoolteacher from Mugu, who was living in an internally displaced camp in Kohalpur, Nepalgunj, in 2004. I visited the camp as part of a team of researchers hired by UNDP to find out about the state of justice during the conflict. Feeling like INGO reports often did not do justice to people's stories, I was compelled to shoot this film two years afterwards. I hope this small cinematic attempt will ensure that people don't forget what happened during the conflict.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Nepali Emigre in Paris

This short film portrays a Nepali artist who flees the repression of the Panchayat system, and ends up at the Ecole Des Beaux Artes in Paris. It is now 20 years later, and he is waiting at the gate for his daughter, who has been accepted to the very same university, where he has also met his French wife. The marriage however, is falling apart, but he doesn't know this yet. As his daughter walks off with a friend, he looks and sees his wife kissing her lover. This is the first time he's met the lover, who's ten years younger. He realizes the marriage is over. He thinks back to the phonecall his first wife has made him from Nepal--telling him is daughter from the first marriage has been jailed for joining the Maoist Movement in Nepal. He realizes he has to make a choice. Will he stay in Paris, where he's spent the majority of his adult life, or will he return to Nepal?

Monday, August 28, 2006

A summer of cinema in Paris

In the summer of 2006, I attended the New York Film Academy's directing program in Paris. NYFA's program is based in La Femis, one of Paris's premier film institute. These are the 16mm shorts I shot:

The Escape (2006)
9 minutes, fiction
16mm, black and white
A schoolteacher from Mugu, Western Nepal, flees a troop of young Maoist cadres who come to kill him. Based on a true story told to the filmmaker by a teacher in an internally displaced camp in Kohalpur.

A Nepali Emigre in Paris (2006)
4 minutes, fiction
16mm, black and white
A Nepali man flees political repression and leaves for Paris as the fight for democracy begins. He has no reason to look back for twenty years—till now, when both his loyalty and his love are torn between two sides.

Suzanne (2006)
4 minutes, fiction
16mm, black and white
An homage to Leonard Cohen’s song.