CELEBRATING STORY TELLING THROUGH CINEMA: EKADESHMA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Words: Shreeya Sangroula| Lens: Gaurav Xhompate Sunuwar
Ekadeshma International Short Film Festival is a pioneering film festival in Nepal that showcases short films from Nepal and around the world. It celebrates the medium of storytelling through cinema. Ekadeshma aims to bring the best of Nepali and international cinema and art. Ekashema film festival has been successfully running for 6 years. To know further we talked with Festival Director, Mr. Soham Dhakal, Artistic Director, Mr. Abinash Bikram Shah, and Programming Director, Mr. Prachanda Man Shrestha. Here is what they had to say.
What do think about the movie industry? How has it changed from the past and where do you see it going?
The answer to this question is very vague because the movie industry is huge. The way the industry has grown in the recent years, we knew that we had hope for the future even when compared to the Indian movie industry or any other countries. Having said that, we have had lots of problems technically because we couldn’t get those advanced equipment to make movies of the quality we wanted to make. But, the creativity was always there. And that is what kept the industry going. Now, with the passing of time we have been doing the best and learning to keep making better movies. With the technological advancements we have a broader horizon to look and more aspects to work with. Accordingly, there are some movies that are bad but we need to create more that are meaningful and creatively challenging.
So, we shouldn’t just focus on the entertainment but also keep the storyline and the plot that is critically challenging for the audience. Nepal is a place that is so diverse and has a lot of opinions, so the stories that come from here will definitely create a name for themselves in the future.
The concept of short films has been around the world for a long time but in Nepal it is just picking up. If we have to compare the audience for this sector we can say it was close to zero before but now the number is increasing day by day. We have film schools from where we get submissions. We have artists making feature films. Short films are also a gateway for emerging artists and directors and for everyone involved in it to take it as a learning experience.
What short films are trying to achieve is also to be considered. The main aim is to provide a platform to all the people who want to make feature films in the long run. Most of the people who have submitted their short films over the years now have the experience and the confidence to make feature films. The social media sites have helped a lot for people to get access to watch these kinds of movies. Also, before we had very expensive equipment and there were not a lot of them. Now, we have amazing high definition cameras that are comparatively cheaper and also they have a lot of options on that sector. So, accessibility is also one major reason why the short film industry is going. Along with that, revenue is coming in because there is a lot of viewership.
One great example can be Min Bahadur Bham who got critically acclaimed for “Basuli” which got him funds to make a feature film “Kalo Pothi”. So, if a short movie is great then directors can have that mileage to do something similar but of a larger scale. Even if the short film has short comings, they can always learn what went wrong and work on it.
We have had an amazing response from our audience and the submissions are growing each year. We started from being a one day event with less than 20 films, and now Ekadesnma Film Festival is four days long. We have thousands of submissions coming in from all around the world and we have a lot of Nepali films as well. We have requests for collaborations from esteemed platforms. But, we wouldn’t like to term Ekadeshma Film Festival to be successful because we still have a long way to go. We need to grow a lot and showcase even more. Our main goal is to set a culture among the viewers to watch the short films. It is a step by step process and we can see it progressing.
The credit for the successful operation of this festival also goes to everyone involved. We didn’t get a lot of funds and we had to keep the money from our own pockets, everyone who is working for this festival is driven by passion and they don’t take it as just another job. There is no money in this but that was never our goal. Revenue and profit comes secondary to exhibiting our art and passion. The devotion of everyone involved is the main reason that we are getting better every year.
Obviously, it is hard to work like that sometimes and we question ourselves but we can’t go far away from this because this is what makes us satisfied with what we are doing. There are a lot of challenges but we are going through that and we are getting a lot of recognition as a festival worldwide.
We also raise social issues that are prevalent in the community and pick a theme accordingly. This year the theme was women empowerment and we showcased a lot of films made by women that portrays the daily hardships some may go through. The films raise questions that make people think and act. So, we also try and fulfill our responsibility towards the society by educating people on such issues.
We give various workshops to aspiring film makers, actors and script writers. The workshops are given by esteemed personalities in the international film scene. In the future we will continue providing this platform and do our best to promote this festival in bigger arenas and work to promote our Nepali movie industry as well.
Promoted By: Nepal Tourism Board
Sponsored By: Ruslan Vodka
Supported By: QFX Cinemas, Embassy of Switzerland
Partners: Aslesha Entertainment, Alliance Françoise Kathmandou, Jalapa Fresh Himalayan Spring Water, Government of Nepal Film Development Board, Governo do Brasil, Embassy of Bangladesh
Award Sponsor: Oscar International College
Hospitality Partner: Hotel Greenwich Village
Outdoor Screening: Bato Ko Cinema, Sattya Media Arts Collective,
Media Partner: Hamro Patro
App Partner: My City Pulse
Website By: HernaJaam
Publicity: Recentnepal.com, Trident Concept