We’ve had a quiet couple of days on the screening front as today we leave for the villages in Dhading – most of our time has been spent running around Kathmandu getting all the things we need to take with us, and waiting patiently to hear if Shital (who is helping us with many things here) was able to acquire us enough fuel for the trip. He was successful so we leave in a couple of hours for a 7 hour jeep journey, mostly off road – made the mistake of looking at a map of the route, unsurprisingly it is very very windy! It’s also fairly remote, so internet does not exist – you might not hear much from us for a couple of weeks, though we will be trying to send text updates to the home team.
We did have a bit of time out on Friday, Shital invited us to attend his family’s Bhai Tika ceremony, for the last day of Tihar festival. The ceremony celebrates the brother-sister relationship (or similar, so cousins count, and for us, so do friends!) – sisters travel to be with their brothers, blessing them with seven colours of tika powder on their foreheads then placing malas (flower garlands) around their necks and giving them small gifts of money, in thanks for their protection. The brothers do the same in return for each sister, then everyone receives a plate of treats – felt a bit like a Christmas stocking – before all sharing a meal of dhal bat, traditional Nepalese food. It was pretty special to be allowed such a glimpse into Nepalese culture.
Malas and the tray of tika colours ready for the ceremony
Traditional Bhai Tika treats
Alex, Dave and Scruff after the Bhai Tika ceremony
For our third screening we visited Khagendra, a home for disabled children and adults. It felt really special putting on a screening for them all, especially as they don’t get much in the way of facilities and activities.
They were all very excited to have us visit and there were lots of smiles and laughter. Some are able to move about themselves, whilst others have to be moved around in their chairs or on trolley beds, but the centre is very understaffed so they’re very limited to what they can do and where they can go.
We screened a number of shorts varying from Tom and Jerry to some more magical abstract animations. I’d visited the home twice before and had filmed lots of the residents, we screened a seven minute film of them which got some good laughs and we hope made them feel special.
For the main feature the crew played Jungle Book again. It felt like the perfect film for all ages and the mix of abilities. Along with the people who live at Khangendra we were also joined by lots of other westerners who volunteer at and support the home. They all really love our project and think it’s a wonderful idea, and you can see from the photos the kids are engrossed in the films.
The Tihar festival continues, and lots of kids are roaming around the streets in groups singing at houses or shops in return for money. It’s a bit like a cross between Christmas carols and halloween! Today is the final day of Tihar and it’s Bhai Tikar, where sisters bless their brothers. They’ll often travel long distances to be with family, although the fuel crisis is limiting that at the moment. Sisters will put seven multi coloured marks on their brothers heads and give them gifts, and then the brothers do the same to the sisters. This festival strengthens the close relationship between brothers and sisters. Below is a photo of the powder that makes the tikar.
So Tihar Festival has started here. It runs for five days and is comparable to Christmas in importance for Nepali’s. Yesterday was the dog day! Dogs get a puja on their heads, flower garlands around their necks (see pic below) and get treats all day. Today is Lakshmi Puja, and Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune, and prosperity (both material and spiritual.) People bless things like their wallets and safe’s, and hope some more money might come their way.
We had a wonderful screening in Chuchepati camp last night, where displaced people are still living six months after the earthquake. Up (dubbed into Hindi) was our main feature and they really enjoyed it, there are lots of dogs in the animation which fitted nicely with Dog Puja day.
We’d got the kids to film each other before the screening on a small flip cameras, so projected some of that before hand, along with some beautiful shorts and some drone footage I took of the camp from the air. As you can imagine the kids were pretty excited to see a small quadcopter flying over the camp, and then spotting their tents and tent school from the aerial footage. The people in the camp were so helpful in putting up and taking down the cinema, and are very keen for us to return as soon as possible!
The camp is situated right next to the luxury Hyatt Hotel and the Bhat-Bhateni Super Mall which contrasts hugely with the camp dwellers situation. We were made to feel very welcome and safe by the friendly people at the camp. (Spot Pam who’s helping and working with us enjoying Up with the local kids below!)
The generator problem from the first day is solved. I went back to the Yamaha store and it was a loose connection inside. We’ve been advised that the generator will just need to be serviced earlier and more often due to the mixing of petrol with turps (black market problems!)
Happy Tihar to you all! xxx
We had our first public screening in Nepal tonight and happy to say it went down well. We screened in an area called Naya Bazaar which is fairly central in Kathmandu. The kids were loving the open mic session and impressed us with their beat boxing, rapping and songs. We screened on a dusty open field that’s used by locals for football, cricket, volley ball, hanging out and setting off fire crackers tonight!
We played about 30 minutes of shorts, and then Jungle Book (in Hindi) which were all well received. Only problem we had was the generator cutting out a few times. There’s a good chance that was to do with the quality of the fuel we had to buy on the black market (due to the fuel crisis), which could be mixed down with anything.
Great to be up and running again and creating good vibes. One highlight of the night was an old man bringing us a bunch of flowers to say thanks, another was standing behind the screen and watching the kids faces.
Thanks to everyone who’s supported, helped, organised, and been involved in getting this off the ground again. First of many over and looking forward to many more.
Scruff, Dave and Alex, all ready to go
We made it to Kathmandu on time on Friday, though all the screening kit and our bags didn’t! The baggage hall was absolute chaos, we wish we’d filmed all the shouting people crowding around the carousel and the claims desk. Apparently all bags are late at the moment, the ongoing fuel crisis means that planes are carrying extra cargo and delaying passenger luggage instead. We were advised to return the next day at 4pm – there were huge stacks of bags everywhere, but happily found ours languishing in the back corner. Yay for clean clothes and double yay for being able to go ahead with our planned screenings!
Spot Scruff way at the back successfully finding all our luggage
With our kit safely stowed we headed off to Gary’s palatial accommodation to do our first test screening in the garden. After a bit of trial and error we managed to get it all up and running, so looks like we’re ready to start showing films to the children of Nepal. Well, almost ready – we’re still going through our film collection, trying to decide what will go down well with the kids. Shortlisted some features last night (wow, Bollywood films are so long!), this evening we’re concentrating on shorts. Then tomorrow is our first screening proper, on a football pitch in Naya Bazaar, in central Kathmandu.
We haven’t seen as much obvious earthquake damage as we’d expected (though we’ve only been here 36 hours in central Kathmandu) but the worsening fuel shortage is exacerbating the rebuilding efforts, this article in today’s Kathmandu Post confirms that the true costs of the earthquake go beyond physical damage.
Unicef Executive Director Anthony Kirsopp Lake has warned that a humanitarian crisis is looming for the children of Nepal. “The declining stocks of gas, food and medicines, together with the closure of schools due to political strife in the Tarai and shortages of fuel throughout the country, are not only inflicting damage to the lives of the children now—they threaten the future of the country itself,” Lake said.
So preparations for the team arriving tomorrow are going well. We’ve been scouting out and arranging locations to screen here in Kathmandu, working with our local team getting the poles made for the screen, buying all sorts of bits and bobs including rope, solar lights, a hammer and even some tennis balls to go on the end of the guide rope pegs!
I’ve been here two weeks so far and am very excited we’ll have the films rolling within a few days. Everyone we’ve spoken to here is excited and intrigued to have us bringing a bit of cinematic magic into their lives.
Safe travels Scruff, Alex and Dave – see you at the airport. Here’s a pic of black Kali from Kathmandu Durbar Square the Goddess of Time, Change, Power, Creation, Preservation, and Destruction.
Things are moving fast here at NKKP HQ, and our travel plans are coming together. Our travelling party consists of three volunteers (Alex, Dave & Scruff) heading to Nepal on November 5th.
Plans may change as there is a fuel crisis in Nepal at present, but we are advised that travel is still possible so confidence in our itinerary remains high.
We plan to spend the first 4-5 nights in Kathmandu acclimatising and holding practice screenings, before heading to the mountainous Dhading area where we will spend around two weeks hosting film-making workshops and screenings in a series of village locations.
Meanwhile in the UK fundraising events continue apace with DJ Cheeba’s live re-score of Plan 9 From Outer Space on Wednesday 28th October and the Cabaret of Curiosities at The Cube on November 7th approaching. Check out the ‘Fundraising Events’ tab on this website for further opportunities to support the project.
Bring the whole family to the Cube next Monday & Tuesday, as we team up with Nanoplex to bring you some half-term entertainment.
Song of the Sea tells the story of Ben and his little sister Saoirse – the last Seal-child – who embark on a fantastic journey across a fading world of ancient legend and magic in an attempt to return to their home by the sea, a world that needs Saoirse to find her voice and sing the ‘Song of the Sea’ to save all of fairy kind from being lost forever. A modern fairy tale which stays true to the celebrated 2D animation style of animation wunderkind Tomm Moore/Cartoon Saloon with a beautiful story for the whole family. Watch the trailer here.
The screening is followed by an animation workshop where you can create and animate your own magical creatures inspired by the lovely Song of The Sea characters – us NKKP travellers will be taking notes so we can do similar workshops with the kids in Nepal.
Monday 26 October 11am & Tuesday 27 October 11am
Tickets: £4/£3. Please note workshop after screening. Event finish approx 1.30pm. Book early to avoid disappointment.
Wow, we managed to raise over £750 due to your love of terrible movies – the lovely folk behind Bristol Bad Film Club donated the proceeds from both ticket sales and beer sales, plus you ate ALL the cake & gave us plenty of loose change as well. No amount too small, it all adds up – I should know, I carried £80.67 worth of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 pence pieces to the bank, it was heavy!
Many thanks also to Shambala Festival for their generous donation of £700. We’re so close to reaching our target for this trip now, it’s dead exciting!