Kathmandu: With stirring images and stories from before and after the devastating 2015 Nepal earthquake, director Pradip Pokhrel conveys a powerful story of loss, hope, and redemption in his hour-long documentary, “A Song for Barpak,” which has earned the ICIMOD best film prize at the 2016 Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (KIMFF).Pokhrel’s film focuses on the post-earthquake struggles of Barpak village, located in Gorkha district, and just a short distance from the epicenter of the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that rocked Nepal in April 2015. The film contributions of Doko Radio – a radio project that visited Barpak before and after the quake – provide compelling evidence of the severity of devastation suffered by the local residents.
Doko Radio shares audio and film taken in 2007 and calls Barpak, a “model village” – an idyllic setting where people enjoyed recent gains through tourism and improved agriculture. The scene they encounter after the quake documents the massive loss of property and human life.
But Pokhrel’s film does not stop with the devastation. He and his crew follow Doko Radio through Barpak last year when they organized a healing celebration to mark the start of reconstruction – an event that is emotional and visceral, the relief and happiness visible on the many faces that Pokhrel captures with great intensity.
“A Song for Barpak” was selected from several Nepali entries at KIMFF this year, which ran from short-form fictional story-telling to gripping portrayals of embattled mountain cultures and traditions.
The ICIMOD jury selected Pokhrel’s film unanimously for the prize. One juror remarked, “This movie highlights the power and resilience of mountain culture: its traditions, music, and natural beauty. I liked how the film looked to the future and focused on the healing for the people in Barpak.”
This is the third annual best film prize that ICIMOD has awarded at KIMFF. The movies are judged not only on technical content and story-telling, but also their relevance to the social and environmental issues facing mountain people throughout the Hindu Kush Himalaya.
This year marked the 14th annual KIMFF, held in the QFX Kumari Cinema Hall in Kamal Pokhari. KIMFF concludes today and will open next year on December 7, 2017.