Conversation with Director Arun Bhattarai

Arun Bhattarai (Thimphu, 1985) premiered his first feature-length documentary The Next Guardian at IDFA in the First Appearance Competition in 2017. Since then it has been screened at more than 40 international festivals (True/False, Ambulante, San Francisco IDFF, MoMA DocFortnight, Camerimage, Docs Against Gravity etc.) received awards, had theatrical releases and broadcasted around the world. His most recent television documentary, Kelden won The Asia Pitch and was screened in NHK World TV and KBS Korea. Before becoming an independent filmmaker, he worked as a TV director at the Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) for more than 5 years.

He graduated from the first edition of Docnomads Joint Masters for which he was awarded a full Erasmus Mundus scholarship in Lisbon, Budapest and Brussels in 2014.

Currently, he is working on a short documentary Mountain Man, about Bhutan’s first glaciologist who risks his life every year, as he hikes for days through dangerous terrain to measure the rapidly receding glaciers of the Himalayas. The project won the Best Pitch Prize at If/Then Global Short Pitch at IDFA 2019. He is also developing his second feature-length documentary Gross National Happiness which was pitched at Marché du Film, Cannes in 2020 and has received the catapult film grant and the sundance development grant. He is one of the few independent documentary filmmakers in Bhutan.