Who will be a Gurkha
“If a man says he’s not afraid of dying, he is lying, or he is a Gurkha,” said a military officer. Loyal, gentle and jolly, yet the ‘deadliest natural-born killers,’ was how someone else described them.
The Gurkhas began soldiering for the British colony in India 200 years ago, following a war in which the two were enemies. Impressed with the fighting prowess of the khukuri-wielding Nepalis, who seemed not to fear death, Britain began recruiting them. Since then, Gurkhas have been deployed from Borneo, Burma and Africa, to France, Italy, the Falklands and, more recently, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Today’s potential recruits are not rustic hill boys, considered the right ‘martial’ material, but urban-based Nepalis with a school or higher education, attracted by wages equaling British soldiers now, and drawn by the myth and glamour, as well as the adventure and danger, associated with the Gurkhas, in spite of the very real prospect of dying in the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq.
This film will look at the entire recruiting process, said to be among the most grueling anywhere, in the confined settings of the British Camp, a lush spacious compound of meticulous lawns and plentiful foliage, within sight of the magnificent peak of Machhapuchare. Less than two hundred will be selected from the 10,000 applicants who undergo one of the most rigorous physical tests anywhere.
The recruitment, carried out meticulously, presents an elaborate modern-day ritual born in the days of Empire. It shows the processes of the army as an institution, with a unique twist that these young men are joining someone else’s army. This fascinating disjuncture brings together two cultures, the British state with echoes of Empire and the Nepali people; the realities of Nepal in the way these young men see themselves and the outside world they propelled toward, offering a unique multi-layering of people, institutions and societies, and the British and Nepali worlds.
KesangTseten’sHamiKunakoManchhe (We Corner People) won awards at Kimff '06 and the Slovenia International Mountain Film Festival’07; On the Road with the Red God: MACHHENDRANATH won the Grand Prize at the Kendal Mountain Film Festival '06, Mention at the Bilan du Ethnographique, and was voted Best Documentary of the Decade by the Nepal Motion Pictures Association '05. Frames of War, which Tseten produced and co-directed, won the Best Film Award in Nepal Panorama at Kimff 2008. Saving Dolma won the Audience Award at Kimff ‘10. The Desert Eats Us had its international premiere at the International Leipzig Documentary & Animation Film Festival in October ‘11.
Art of Freedom
How is it possible that in the People's Republic Poland of the 1970s and 80s, at the very height of socialism, Polish mountain climbers were among the best in the world? How could the citizens of a nation in which the average pay was 20 dollars a month afford to organize climbing expeditions in the Himalayas? In what way did privation across every aspect of life influence their condition and their morale? What distinguished climbers from Poland from those from the other side of the ‘iron curtain’? Art of Freedom answers the most poignant questions on the phenomenon of Polish mountain climbing. Poles reigned on the peaks of the world’s highest mountains for over 20 years. They not only blazed new trails, but also established new rules of comportment. They stood out of the crowd with their original style of climbing, endurance, conscientiousness about the overall well being of the team - and solidarity. Art of Freedom is the fourth film in the Guide to the Poles documentary series.
Screenwriter, director, editor
In the early 1990s, Słota was involved in promoting rock music, organizing concerts and festivals. He co-founded the Cyberstudio recording studio, and worked as manager for Myslovitz and NowyHoryzont. Studied at the National Film School in Łódź between 1997 and 2000. Słota directed two films in the Guide to the Poles series: Beats of Freedom (2010) and Art of Freedom (2011). His other directing credits include Tysiącleciekontramilenium (Thousand Years vs. Millenium), Górnicy z Piasta (The Miners from Piast), and Historiapolskiegorocka (The History of Polish Rock).
A graduate of the National Film School in Łódź, Kłosowicz has taken part in a number of trekking expeditions to Asia and Africa - he set up and led the Koszalin Polytechnic's Nepal '97 Trek and Kilimanjaro '98 Trek, the Elbrus '99 Trek from Lodz, and the televisedAktivist Goes to the TopExpedition.Kłosowiczalso co-wrote the scripts for several feature films, including My Pole and Silence from the TVN Real Histories series, which he also produced. Finalist of the Hartley Merrill competition in 2009 with the script for Silence. Directed a number of films for the Discovery History channel in Poland, including a number of films on Himalayan climbing expeditions, and produced the documentary series Student Show, which focuses on the stories of six of the most well-known student clubs in Poland, politically and socially active under communism and during martial law.
La Nuit Nomade (Nomadic Nights)
This could be Tundrup’s last migration, the end of his nomadic life on the high plateaux of the Himalayas. When the walkers arrive, Tundrup and his family will have to decide: with they sell their herd, abandon their lands and leave for the city as so many others have done before them, or stay in Karnak. Where will they be happiest?
Director Marianne Chaud lived for many months amongst these men and women, using her camera to capture their words and gestures and creating unusually intimate portraits for the viewer. The film\'s magic builds slowly as their individual musings become universal questions, and we identify with the people in the film, seeing in them the mirror of our own desires, fears and doubts.
Marianne Chaud was born in 1976. She is an ethnologist, with a diploma from the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. Her doctoral thesis focused on studying the relationship between the people of the Himalayan region of Zanskar, in northern India, and their land. She has returned to this area regularly over the past seven years, spending three to seven months in different villages, at different times of the year. She lived with Zanskari families, learned their language, adopted their customs and behaviors, and worked alongside them, at domestic and farming tasks. She observed and questioned constantly, forging strong emotional links with the residents; her profound personal experience furthered her intellectual interest.
In 2004, she participated as a scientific specialist in the Ushuaïa-Natures TV show on the Ladakh-Zanskar, a popular prime time documentary series produced for TF1. Alongside Nicolas Hulot, the host of the show, she discussed the principles of Buddhism, the nomadic way of life of the Ladakhi villagers.
In 2005, she submitted a documentary project to ZED, about the lives of two young Zanskari girls. The project was accepted, and in 2006 she worked on the production of the film Becoming a Woman in Zanskar, as co-author and production assistant. The 85-minute film was broadcasted on France 5 in May 2007, on SWR in Germany, Discovery HD International, NHK in Japan, and in 15 other countries including the US, Spain, Italy, Austria, Holland, Finland, Norway, etc.
In conjunction with her ethnological studies, Marianne Chaud pursued ethnographical film classes at the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.
Being kind, generous, helpful, honest and truthful is what HARI has learned from his Parents. However, the world he lives in is just the opposite. He struggles to find his place in the college where none of his ethics works. Confused and dazzled, eventually he decides to change. He decides to become as corrupted as the world surrounding him but the situation gets even worse.
Asim Chitrakar is a filmmaker based in Kathmandu who has graduated from OSCAR College of Film Studies (Tribhuwan University). He started his career in Nepalese media as a video editor and later started directing and won different awards for music videos and TV commercials to his credit. Through his films he wants to capture and reflect the true essence of Nepal.
The word "Kadamandu" sounds familiar. But it is not "Kathmandu", the Capital of Nepal. These two places are miles apart, in every possible way. The Kadamandu Village, with 4,000 residents, is located in Doti, a far-western district, almost 1,000 km away from the Capital. This documentary is about Kadamandu and its people, of its migrant workers. The menfolk in this village and from the region have for generations left for India in the hope of securing a future for themselves and their families. Statistics show that out of the men that leave the village, 75 percent migrate to India. Instead, migration has added misery to their already poverty-stricken lives. The number of men leaving the village and the rise in HIV AIDS is co-related. More than 70 people have lost their lives to this infection in this village and many more suffer from it.
Ramesh Khadka is a filmmaker and journalist. His seven previous films have been screened at several international film festivals.
Kimff 2012 Jury
Born in the USA, John Porter climbed as a teenager in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, served his mountain apprenticeship in the Rockies and Yosemite and moved to England to do post graduate studies at the University of Leeds, There he climbed with many of the leading UK activists of the 1970/80s including Brian Hall, Roger Baxter Jones, Al Rouse, Alex MacIntyre, Peter Boardman, Joe Tasker - the generation that nearly climbed itself into extinction. From the mid 70’s, he spent considerable time in the greater ranges of Asia and South America. With partners such as Boardman, Voytek Kurtyka (Poland), Rene Ghilini (France) and MacIntyre, he made pioneering lightweight ascents including winter traverse of the Tatra (1976), NE Face of Bandaka (1977), the S. Buttress of Changabang (1978), S. Face Ranrapulka (1979), S.E Ridge Tarke Kang (1982), etc. He joined Rouse and friends to attempt the West Ridge of Everest in winter (1980/81) and the NW Ridge of K2 during the tragic year of 1986. His good friend MacIntyre was killed while they were attempting a new route on the S. Face of Annapurna (1982). In recent years, there were further new routes during trips to Garhwal 1988 (Shivling/Kedar Dome), Karakorum 1991 (Chong Kundam 1 & 5), Africa, and with Chris Bonington to Tibet 1997 (Sepu Kangri) and Greenland 2000. He lives with his wife and two daughters in the English Lake District and has been active on the past three decades in the development of mountain culture projects, creating the Kendal Mountain Festival, the British National Mountaineering Exhibition and the Upland Research Centre, and is now working with the Alpine Club to preserve their photo collection. He is working to complete a biography on his friend MacIntyre and the times in which he lived.
Juhani Alanen was born in 1956 in Kuru, Finland. He studied at the University of Tampere and graduated as M.Sc. in Marketing. He has worked at the Tampere Film Festival more than 25 years on various duties and currently he is the Executive Director of the festival. Juhani Alanen has been a member of the film selection committee of Tampere Film Festival for 10 years. He has curated short film programmes for Tampere and presented programs of Finnish short films at various film festivals. He has also been a member of the jury at different short film festivals. Juhani will introduce Tampere Short Films at KIMFF 2011.
Marianne Pletscher has studied and graduated in languages in Zurich, political sciences at Harvard University in Cambridge USA and film at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. She has worked as a reporter and documentary filmmaker for Swiss television in all parts of the world for many years and has won so far many national and international prices, and her films have been exhibited at festivals all over the world. She now works as an independent filmmaker. She has also worked as a documentary teacher at Swiss television, various film- and media-schools in Switzerland and Nepal and Cuba. She has directed and produced more than 50 feature length documentaries and short films. Her films largely focus on cultural, socio-political and gender issues. When she is not making of talking about documentaries, Marrianne enjoys sailing.