Indigenous film fest seeking to break barriersSince the release of Silu—a feature film in Nepal Bhasa, considered to be Nepal’s first ever indigenous film—in 1987, Nepal has seen the production of more than 600 indigenous films, according to data made available by the Federation of Indigenous Nationalities Film, the umbrella organisation of indigenous filmmakers.
Since the release of Silu—a feature film in Nepal Bhasa, considered to be Nepal’s first ever indigenous film—in 1987, Nepal has seen the production of more than 600 indigenous films, according to data made available by the Federation of Indigenous Nationalities Film, the umbrella organisation of indigenous filmmakers. But thirty years on, the space and exposure of indigenous films has barely expanded, even though the number of productions might suggest otherwise.
“Although indigenous films continue to be produced, their development has been at a virtual standstill,” Purkhajit Rai, secretary of the Federation of Indigenous Nationalities Film (FINFI), has said. “Even after indigenous films are produced, they don’t find theatres willing to screen the film. The indigenous films today are limited to charity shows and screenings among limited audiences. For a nationwide release, the producers have to fork out a lot of money. We hope this will change in due time and pave the way for a wider acceptance of regional and indigenous films.”
Against this backdrop, the second Indigenous-language Film Festival is slated to kick off at Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu on June 29.
The fest this time around will feature a total of 14 titles in 10 different languages, including such films as Mairinmo, by Bhoj Bahadur Gurung; Ladi Puja, by Bindu Majhi; Tinchhen Fama, by Aang Ngima Sherpa; and Go Su Nanga, by Shiva Mukhiya; among others.
Speaking about the Fest, Amrit Bahadur Sunuwar, president of FINFI, says, “Nepal is a multi-lingual, secular, multi-traditional country. While the mainstream film market is dominated by Nepali-language films, films in indigenous language continue to be produced, aiming to preserve their unique heritage and language. But the films struggle to get screen time and also the concerned authorities neglect them altogether.”
Sunuwar adds, “With this festival, we aim to promote and preserve our unique heritages, and to explore the possibilities of tourism in various locations around the country.”
The three-day fest will also feature several short films, documentaries, and food stalls. At the fest, one film will be awarded with a purse of Rs 25,000; the film will be selected through voting from the audience.
The fest will run till July 1.