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Remote Lives at the 'KIMFF'
Audience in Nepal greatly appreciated this five-day event
Rosha Basnet (ganga05)     Print Article 
Published 2006-12-15 17:22 (KST)   
Dedicated to the late Dr. Harka Gurung, an eminent Nepalese geographer, the fourth edition of the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (kimff) ended on Dec. 11 in Gurukul with an overwhelming response from the audience.

The festival organizers exhibited 71 films from 26 countries in total, including anthropological films, alpine documentaries, archival footage, adventure cinema, experimental shorts, light-hearted commentary, and feature films.

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The films were screened back-to-back simultaneously at three venues, the Russian Cultural Centre (RCC) in Kamal Pokhari, Gurukul in Old Baneswor, and the Tourist Service Center on Exhibition Road.

The festival kicked off on Dec. 7 with its chief guest Nazir Sabir, the first Pakistani to scale Mount Everest. This was a special year for kimff because it expanded its usual duration by one day and spread to two extra venues.

Explaining why kimff expanded its venue and duration, Ramyata Limbu, the director of the festival, told OhmyNews:

"The popularity of documentry has been increased in the time when Nepali celluloid feature films are losing audience because of the lack of originality and quality. Kimff expanded its venue and duration because it has been earning good numbers of viewers from its inception in 2000."

She estimated that the audience was 18,000 strong this year.

Organized by Himal Association, a not-for-profit organization, kimff ended with a declaration that it will be held every year from now on. It was previously held every two years.

The festival was organized with the support of Eco Himal, WWF-Nepal, and ICIMOD.

Kimff has evolved from a festival that focused initially on issues impacting mountain people worldwide. Kimff has been part of the campaign to encourage the audio-visual medium to come to the aid of the social and economic transformation of the human landscapes in Nepal.

The highlights of the festival were "Riding Solo to the Top of the World," "Travelers and Magicians," "Tiny Katerina," and "The Last Race."

"Riding Solo To the Top of The World" bagged an audience award, however kimff is said to be a non-competitive film festival.

The writer passes by a billboard for the festival.
©2006 Rosha Basnet

Directed by Indian director, Gaurab Jani,"Riding Solo to the Top if the World" depects the tale of a lonesome traveler who rides his motorcycle all the way from Mumbai to the one of the remotest places in the world, the Changthang Plateau, in Ladakh, bordering China. When he is there he meets and interacts with the nomads of the region, the Chang pas, who live at the higest altitude used by humankind in the world.

Nepali documentry director, Kesang Tseten's "We Corner People" also bagged an audience award for its representation of Nepal.

It's all about the Tamang people, a Nepali ethnic group. Their remote village gets a trail bridge that will make life easier. A river straddling the village sweeps away a young bride when it floods inexplicably. That event makes the people in that locality call themselves "corner people."

In short, the film shows the sorrowful life in a remote area where there is no electricity, no safe drinking water, and no roads. It shows what life is like in the remote parts of Nepal where poverty is rampant and the literacy rate is very low. A three-room school that only goes up to class three is strong evidence in the film.

"Tiny Katerina" too conquered the audience's heart. It's all about Siberia, Russia, where a little baby girl, Katerina's family reside.

Its awfully cold yet tiny Katerina does not stand back from assisting her mother. She can't speak but imitates speaking with her parents, sometimes even with the animals around her. Little Katerina has no spare time as she is busy assisting her mom in making the fire and storing chopped wood.

Slowly she approaches something unknown. That unknown keeps coming closer to Katerina. An oil rig appears not far from her nomad camp. Thus ends the film "Tiny Katerina."

There's no conversation in the films. Katerina's activities remain its focus and subject matter.

Alex Gabby's "The Last Race' depicts how people in remote areas in Nepal are compelled to flock abroad for better earnings. Its all about Manang, a hilly tourist spot in Nepal, where there is unequal social distribution. Some are extremely rich but others can hardly afford to live their lives. Most of the manpower in this area has flocked abroad, like the father of Karma in the film.

In this way, with films of various genres and ample audience appreciation, ended the fourth edition of the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival. It was an immense success.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Rosha Basnet

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