THE UK’S FIRST EVER FESTIVAL OF HIMALAYAN FILM AND CULTURE LAUNCHES IN LONDON ON 28 JANUARY
The Himalaya are the world’s mightiest mountain range, forming the backbone of Asia. Their icebound peaks are the sources of the great rivers of India and China, and even control the weather across large parts of the continent. Many Asian cultures meet here at the Roof of the World, and a huge diversity of people make their living on the mountains’ slopes and in their valleys.
Himalaya Film & Cultural Festival takes place from 28 January to 12 February 2010 at various venues across London (School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), The Nehru Centre, The Tricycle Cinema, Rich Mix, The Sweet Tea House and Passing Clouds). It is the first festival in the UK to unite material from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Tibet.
Films from each country tell stories of mountain life, capture the awesome scenery, and examine issues facing the Region: the aftermath of war in Afghanistan, the clash of modernity and ancient magic in Nepal, poachers on the grasslands of Western China, the tribulations of joint marriage on India’s remote Northeast frontier, and more.
The Festival also includes a programme of music, photography and fine art. Many filmmakers and artists are attending in person to introduce their work.
Himalaya is a not-for-profit festival, and any profits made will be donated to our charity partner The Rescue Foundation, a Mumbai-based NGO which works for the rescue and rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking and forced prostitution. The Festival is also organising special daytime screenings for local schools, and various projects partnered with educational organisations including The Learning Trust (Hackney) and FilmClub, to give local children a glimpse into the rich cultures of Himalayan Region.
Thurs 28 January (SOAS): The Festival previews begin with a free screening of two documentaries from Ladakh in India’s far north: Magic Mountain and Hockey Night in Ladakh. There will be an opening speech by Professor Michael Hutt, Professor of Nepali and Himalayan Studies at SOAS.
Tues 2 February (SOAS): In collaboration with our charity partner Rescue Foundation, we are screening The Day My God Died and the UK premiere of From Brothel to Bridehood, two compelling documentaries about the South Asian sex trade. Rescue Foundation’s president Triveni Acharya is joining us to talk about her organisation’s work with some of India’s most vulnerable people. This event is free to attend.
Thurs 4 February (Tricycle Theatre): Assamese director Ahsan Muzid presents the UK premiere of his beautiful film Sonam (The Fortunate One), one of the first films to come out of India’s remotest state, Arunachal Pradesh, and the first ever made in the Monpa language (English subtitles).
Fri 5 February (Rich Mix): Opening Gala for Festival Week. Dr Mark Turin of the Digital Himalaya and World Oral Literature Projects will deliver a welcome speech introducing the Festival, before a screening of the recent Korean film Himalaya, Where the Wind Dwells. The film will be followed by a party with live music from Tibetan folk singer Soname, London qawwali group The Khan Brothers, Afro Asian funk band Yak Attack and DJ Ritu (BBC Radio London : World Music).
Sat 6 February (Rich Mix): Pakistani filmmaker Ayesha Khan joins us to introduce the UK premiere of her debut film Kashf (The Lifting of the Veil), a journey into the soul of Pakistan.
Sun 7 February (Rich Mix): Nepali director Bhusan Dahal is coming from Kathmandu to present the UK premiere of his debut film Kagbeni, a magical story set in the High Himalaya and widely hailed as the greatest Nepali film to date.
Mon 8 February (Nehru Centre): Opening of Himalaya Exhibition, featuring fine art by Tashi Norbu (Bhutan), Govinda Sah “Azad” (Nepal), “Tene” Garbuja (Nepal) and Tashi Mannox (UK), as well as a photographic tour of the Region by Singaporean photojournalist Sam Kang Li. The Exhibition will be running until the end of the Festival and is free to attend.
Tues 9 February (Rich Mix, The Sweet Tea House): India’s first Oscar nominee Ashvin Kumar presents his acclaimed short film The Little Terrorist as well as the UK preview screening of his latest film, a thriller: The Forest. Also, internationally-renowned Tibetan artist Gonkar Gyatso opens his contemporary art gallery, The Sweet Tea House, for two days in conjunction with the Festival.
Wed 10 February (Passing Clouds): Supported by Asian Music Circuit, a recital by world-famous bansuri (flute) player Pandit Ronu Majumdar, accompanied by tabla.
Friday 12 February (Rich Mix, Passing Clouds): Wanderer and one-man film crew Gaurav Jani is joining us from Bombay to introduce the UK premiere his exhilarating road film, Riding Solo to the Top of the World. Plus Festival Closing Gala in support of the Rescue Foundation, with live music from Indo-jazz clarinettist Arun Ghosh, Tibetan singer Nawang, Yak Attack and Coco Varma.