Nepali feature film White Sun (Seto Surya) will open the 14th Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (Kimff), slated to be held at the Kumari Hall in Kamal Pokhari in the Capital, starting Dec 8. White Sun, which was recently screened in Toronto International Film Festival and Venice Film festival, is slated for an all-Nepal release from Dec 9.
Speaking during an event hosted in the Capital earlier this week, Tsering Ritar Sherpa, producer of the film, shared, “We are very excited with the response the film received after being screened at the Venice Film Festival. The film, based on the 10-year Maoist insurgency, has been garnering positive reviews internationally; hopefully, the audience at home will like it too.”
According to Sherpa, the film tries to explore the psychological impact the insurgency had on Nepalis.
Directed by Deepak Rauniyar, White Sun features actors Dayahang Rai, Raj Kumar Baniya and Sumi Malla in lead roles.
Along with White Sun, Kimff 2016 will feature a total of 80 films—features, animations, short films and documentaries—from 28 different countries.
The film fest will also hold a short film competition under the theme: Strengthening Nepal’s Public Services.
This year’s festival is slated to run through Dec 12.
Nepali movies with home-grown content and themes are doing well
Sep 23, 2016- Chhakka Panja, a recently released comedy movie, has become one of the country’s highest grossing movies of the year. The movie with a good-natured script, and based on Nepali migrant workers, has joined the illustrious Rs1crore club.
Nepali movies are making good collections at the box office in recent times. This is good news for the Nepali movie industry, which has had to compete with Bollywood and Hollywood movies. While box office collections are not the only yardstick to determine a movie’s quality, a few Nepali movies are not only earning profits but are also winning critical domestic and international acclaim.
To be sure, many Nepali movies in the past, as well as in the present, have been far from stellar. Nepali movie makers have often not shied away from borrowing the storylines and peculiarities from Bollywood movies. But recent films like Loot, Highway, Apabad and Pashupati Prasad, among others, were able to garner huge acclaim and revenues. The message to Nepali film makers is clear: if movies are well made, people will flock to the theatres to watch them.
A thriving movie industry can be a boon for a nation as a whole. Firmly established in Mumbai, the Indian film industry, or Bollywood, employs hundreds of thousands of people and has been growing by 10 percent annually. By 2016, its revenue is expected to reach $4.5 billion, according to DI International Business Development.
Bollywood took a leap forward in 2001 when it gained “industry status” that allowed banks to lend to it. Since 2004, its gross receipts have almost tripled. And it is not only about the money; the power of films to contribute to social change is also well documented.
The Nepali film industry has come a long way since the first movie, Aama, was made in 1964. The quality of the films being produced seems to be improving in recent years and more and more people are watching them. Huge numbers of people outside the country are also contributing to the sales, with Nepali movies being screened in countries like Qatar, Dubai and the UK. If the movie industry in the country is formalised like in India, it will encourage more independent and creative movie makers.
If films are based on contemporary subjects and have good content and presentation, they will do well, not only domestically but also internationally. Recent successes of a number of Nepali movies stand testament.
*Featured photo courtesy of ASAC Images/Biennale Cinema di Venezia
Nepali film Seto Surya(White Sun) directed by Deepak Rauniyar was premiered in the Orizzonti section — an international competition — at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival to much appreciation on September 6.
*Video and photos are courtesy of ASAC Images/Biennale Cinema
It has also won 6th INTERFILM Award for Promoting Interreligious Dialogue under Collateral Awards of the 73rd Venice Film Festival.
“From a shortlist of finally three films the INTERFILM Jury at the 73rd International Film Festival Venice has chosen the winner of the 6th INTERFILM Award for Promoting Interreligious Dialogue.
The jury decided for the Nepalisian film Seta Surya(White Sun) by Deepak Rauniyar which was screened in the Orizzonti section of the festival,” the website of the Award writes.
“It is obviously a moment of joy to be receiving an award at one of the world’s oldest and biggest film festivals of the world. We all are happy,” director Rauniyar expressed to The Himalayan Times via a Facebook interview. Sadly, he wasn’t there to receive the award.
Highway was his first feature film and it also became “the first feature of Nepal to premiere in a major international film festival. Now, White Sun has taken us to another level”.
He has had a deep belief that “Nepali films like other films can be distributed and screened across the audience of the world.
I would be jubilant that day when our films will be distributed easily like other films reach us. My belief has been firm after White Sun was screened at two big film festivals in a gap of four days and the response we got.”
After Venice Film Festival, White Sun had a North American premiere at Toronto International Film Festival on September 10. The 87-minute-film is a story after the country’s civil war.
It features Dayahang Rai, Asha Magrati, Rabindra Singh Baniya, Sumi Malla and Amrit Pariyar among others.
With the win, lead actor Rai feels that “the country and Nepali films have garnered respect”. When the film was well received at the premiere at Venice with a long applause in a hall of more than 1,200 audience, he is on cloud nine.
He shared, “I felt that this is the success for what I have worked till now!” He had also not expected that people would be interested in a Nepali film.
The Festival ran from August 31 to September 10. INTERFILM is the international network for dialogue between church and film promoting the appreciation of cinema’s artistic, spiritual and social significance in the church and calls attention to the relevance of church, theology and religion for cinema.
As festivals are critical for the activities of INTERFILM, it participates in festivals like Venice and award prizes to outstanding films.