The 17th edition of Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (kimff) was successfully held from 11-15 December, 2019 at the Rastra Sabha Griha and the Nepal Tourism Board at Bhrikutimandap Road. The five-day film festival organized screened 79 films representing 29 countries along with other events such as special screenings, masterclasses, photo exhibition, interactive storytelling session and panel discussion. The films were selected from a total list of 427 films representing 69 countries by kimff’s Film Selection Committee. Keeping this year’s kimff motto, “Voices from Margin”, the showcased films were a masterpiece for fostering the understanding of human diversity.

The festival began with special screening film of ‘The Ascent of the Everest’ directed by Australian award winning filmmaker Antonello Padovano amidst the enthusiastic crowd. The film, “The Ascent of Everest” along with “Ocean to Sky” were dedicated to mark the centenary year of Sir Edmund Hillary. While the first film was narrated by Hillary himself recounting the major events in Hillary’s expedition to the mountain peak and his relation with Tenzing Norgay, about his medicines and equipment, the latter “Ocean to Sky” was directed towards Hillary’s greatest adventure; being a pilgrimage along India’s Sacred river Ganga.

Besides being centenary year of Sir Edmund Hillary, kimff 2019 opening date of 11th of December also coincided with International Mountain Day. The day was commemorated by WWF hosting “Tracking the Ghosts of the Mountain”- a story telling session helmed by Nepali conservationists about the efforts of snow leopard conservation in Nepal. Dr. Ghana Shyam Gurung, Sheren Shrestha and Samundra Subba shared their experience of working in snow leopard habitats.

This year, the award for the Best International Film (NRs. 200,000 prize sponsored by Nepal Mountaineering Association) went to ‘Piano to Zanskar’ directed by Michal Sulima. The documentary was about inspiration, strength and bringing joy to the community through delivering piano in high altitude as well as how it helps in bridging cultures. Second and third place went to ‘Journey to the Center of the Heart’ by Kalani Gacon (NRs. 150,000 award sponsored by Deep Laxmi Foundation) and ‘Cuerdas (Ropes)’ by Marga Gutierrez (NRs. 1500,000 award sponsored by Fredi-Ursula Wohlwend Eschilikon) respectively.

The winner of Nepal Panorama Best Documentary (NRs. 75,000 sponsored by Film Development Board) was ‘Portrait of Mane’ by Pranav Narayan Manandhar. The winner of Nepal Panorama Best Fiction (NRs. 100,000 prize sponsored by Mila Productions) went to ‘Junu ko Jutta ’ by Kedar Shrestha. Similarly, Best Adventure Mountain Film Award (NRs. 1000 sponsored by Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Foundation) went to Stanislaw Berbeka for ‘Dreamland’.

Lastly, the Audience Award (NRs 75,000 sponsored by Oscar International College) went to ‘Ama Khando’ by Dhondup Tsering.

The closing ceremony ended with the screening of ‘Heidi’,  a film based on swiss classic story directed by Alain Gsponer.