Toni Hagen Foundation Documentary Grant

Toni Hagen Foundation 2021 Winners

Bearer of Glass Beads – Pratibha Pant

I wanted to be like Madhuri Dixit – Ankit Manandhar Khadgi

Not Past My Prime – Siddhartha Pudasaini

Where Water Hyacinths grow – Aishwarya Baidar

About Toni Hagen Foundation

The Toni Hagen Foundation was set up in honor of the Swiss geologist and development philosopher Tony Hagen (1917-2003). Over the course of the 1950s and 60s, first as a Swiss development official and later as a United Nations expert, Toni Hagen trekked through a largely uncharted Nepal and wrote about its history, people, geography and economy of what till then was still a largely “forbidden” kingdom. He introduced Nepal to the world and to Nepalis.

Toni Hagen always sought to enhance Nepalis’ understanding of the physical, ethnographic, economic realities and demographic diversity of their country so Nepalis would address existing opportunities and challenges and take advantage of Nepal’s development potential.

The overarching goal of the Foundation, keeping in view the career and ethos of Toni Hagen, is to promote an understanding of Himalayan geography among the people of the Himalaya, particularly the youth. Geography, in this sense, is understood as a broad discipline including physical geography, economy, ethnography, culture and related areas. The Himalayas, in the definition of the Foundation, includes both the adjacent Terai plains to the south as well as sections of the Tibetan plateau in the North.

The Foundation supports publication and production of content and activities to enhance the knowledge base of the Himalayan region among young Nepalis. This includes support for documentary film production. The first group of films produced under the Toni Hagen Documentary Grant are “Blues of Pink” by Grishma Giri, “Chitrapuri Nagar” by Rajeela Shrestha, and “Gaine” by Pradeep Dhakal. The second batch of films comprise “The Cremation” by Nishon Shakya, “Lahureni” by Bishal Roka Magar and “Saparu” by Aditya Khadka. All grant projects are screened at kimff.

For more information contact:

Himal Association
540 Lazimpat, Narayan Gopal Sadak
Kathmandu-2, Nepal
Tel: +977- 1- 4440635 | Fax:

Mailing address:
Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (kimff)
Himal Association
P.O.Box 166, Patan Dhoka,
Kathmandu, Nepal

Toni Hagen Foundation Documentary Grant

Toni Hagen Foundation is offering grants of Rs. 150,000 each for three film projects by young Nepalese filmmakers. The grant will be awarded to filmmakers with an excellent concept for short, creative and thoughtful documentaries that provide an insight into Nepali society, socio-cultural issues, peoples, places, culture, history and development – and embrace issues that are pertinent to the Nepali public.

Eligibility and Criterion for submission

  • Filmmakers aged 30 or under are eligible to apply for the grant. Therefore, filmmakers will be required to send a resume and a scan or a picture of their ID stating date of birth.

  • Duration of film must be no less than 10 minutes and no more than 20 minutes.

  • Interested candidates should include a write up explaining the concept of the film in about 500 words (please submit in English or Nepali language).

  • The concept notes of the applicants must be submitted via e-mail to by July 11, 2021 midnight (Nepal Time) with the subject: “Submission for Toni Hagen Foundation Documentary Filmmaking Grant – kimff 2021”.

Important dates and deadlines

May 11 Call for concept note.
July 11 Deadline for submission of concept note.
August 1 Announcement of Grant Finalists.
Aug/ Sept/ Oct Pre production/ production/  post production of film project which will run parallel to discussions/ feedback/ mentoring sessions by Kimff Doc lab team.
October 31 Deadline for rough cut of film.
November 19 Deadline for final submission.

Top three films will be screened at Kimff 2021.

Previous Toni Hagen Grant Winners

Toni Hagen Grantee 2020:

The Cremator

30 min | Nepal | 2020

Gyan Bahadur Acharya has been cremating the dead in the Bhasmeshwor Ghat of Pashupatinath Temple for three decades. Now in his seventies, he is the oldest cremator. He reflects on it all – wealth, religion, family, strength, the living and the dead. This documentary portrait of Gyan Bahadur attempts to unravel the knots in the time and experiences of the many years the cremator has spent by the blazing pyres.
Set against the backdrop of charred wood and smoke, the film is a triggering experience, a reflection of what death looks and smells like in the Ghats. Gyan Bahadur is a man of conflicting nature, all of which has made him come to accept death as it is. He reminds us of an inevitable fact of life – everyone ultimately dies.


Nishon Shakya

Nishon Shakya is a 22 year-old filmmaker, photographer and freelance content creator based in Kathmandu. He is currently pursuing his final year of undergraduate studies in Media Studies at Kathmandu University School of Arts, Nishon is actively involved in the visual arts, working closely with like-minded individuals in creating documentaries and short films. He enjoys exploring and discovering hidden stories around him, and meeting people, learning about them and their journeys in life.

Toni Hagen Grantees 2019:

Blues of Pink

30 min | Nepal | 2019

The Transgender communities of the Tarai are diverse and have a distinct historical and social context. Their culture and practices, their identity and their work all connect them to the rest of the society. Shot in Janakpur, this documentary provides showcases the spectrum of transgender lives: from the broken marriage to the understanding relationship, from the desire to raise a child to not being able to watch the child grow up, from giving blessings to thinking that one’s own life is a curse. In this society where people judge all our actions based on our gender, how are the actions of transgender people judged?


Grishma Giri

Grishma Giri recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Arts and Social Work from Tribhuvan University. Since his hometown is Birgunj, he has always been interested in portraying issues related to the Madhes. Grishma is a recipient of the Toni Hagen Documentary Youth Grant 2019.

Chitrapuri Nagar

14 min | Nepal | 2019

A historical route trod for centuries by legions of travelers was suddenly abandoned after the construction of the Tribhuvan Highway. But the ancient village that was its hub, Chitrapuri Nagar, remains of great socio-cultural importance.


Rajeela Shrestha

Rajeela Shrestha is a freelance filmmaker and writer based in Kathmandu. Since 2014, she has explored the complexities of the world through short fiction films and documentaries that have been screened and won awards at national and international film festivals. Rajeela is a graduate of Oscar International College. Rajeela is a recipient of the Toni Hagen Documentary Youth Grant 2019.


25 min | Nepal | 2019

Every day in the hills of Bhojpur, parshuram, an old Gandharva, works in his field. He had been a gainey, fated by his caste to become a travelling musician, wandering through villages and towns with his sarangi, spreading information through song. A journalist of the old school. Residing in the same village are other Gandharvas, who believe their role in the society has changed with the dawn of new media. Over time, many Gandharvas have migrated and found new ways to sustain themselves. Others, however, remain loyal to their caste, their occupation, and the music of their sarangi.


Pradeep Dhakal

Director Pradeep Dhakal is a 22-year-old student of Media Studies at the Kathmandu University School of Arts. He has previously worked on documentary, short fiction, and commercial projects. Pradeep is a recipient of the Toni Hagen Documentary Youth Grant 2019.