Nepal International Indigenous Film Festival - NIIFF 2008
In NIIFF '08, 52 films were screened. Among them, 28 were from different indigenous communities from all over the world whereas 23 were from 11 different languages speaking indigenous communities from Nepal. During the festival, indigenous youths were mobilized as volunteers to look after different managerial works. IFA also worked in coordination and cooperation with indigenous women's organization and journalists. Indigenous women's organizations organized food festival during NIIFF '08. Not only did the Food Festival put flavour in festive mood but also gave opportunity to youth and people from other communities to taste different varieties of ethnic cuisine. Similarly, the most of the national dailies, weeklies and other magazines covered the event with a great interest.
Objective of the Festival
To contribute to the inclusion of the indigenous people and their rights in the peace building, restructuring of the state and development of the country through the preservation/promotion of the indigenous films and provide indigenous film makers/media persons an opportunity for an interaction by offering the national as well as international platform to the films on indigenous nationalities through film media.
3. Activities of NIIFF '08
• Searching for Helping Hands for NIIFF '08: We found “Canadian International Development Agency/Canadian Cooperation Office (CIDA/CCO)”, “National Federation of Development of Indigenous Nationalities (NFDIN)”, “Danish Embassy”, “National Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN)” and “Nepal Tourism Board” who had supported the program by funding. Whereas Kathmandu Metropolitan, Kirat Sunuwar Sewa Samaj, Himalayan Hiland Art, Purbeli Travels and Tours, Nepal Film Development Board, Nepal Chepang Sangh, Yeti Airlines Cooperation, Monteshwori Kinderworld and Gorkha Development Bank provided advertisement.
• Advertisement for NIIFF '08: Advertisement were published in Kantipur daily and in official web site of IFA (www.ifanepal.org.np) calling applications for NIIFF ‘08.
• Selection process of the films for screening: A committee was formed to select the films. Films were selected on the basis of presentation of subject/issue (traditional knowledge, skill, life-cycle, etc.), cinematography, language and ethnic group.
• Publicity strategy: Three strategies were used for the publicity, (i) press, (ii) production of information materials and (iii) mobilization of indigenous organizations.
Press: Press note was distributed on 21 May and press conference was done twice on 22 May to provide information on NIIFF '08 to media. 51 journalists from different media houses were present in the conference. Press pass were provided to journalist so that they could watch the film and write about them. Similarly, web site was also updated in order to disseminate information to world wide.
Production of information materials: Information materials such as posters, pamphlets, leaflets and catalogue were produced. Posters were patched in different places of Kathmandu valley and leaflets were also distributed. Similarly, hoarding boards were placed in 5 different places (Chabahil - 1, Balaju - 1, Jamal - 1, Sundhara - 1 and Kupandol - 1). Similarly, hoarding board is also placed in front of the gates of the venue. Catalogue was distributed to guests and film makers to give brief overview of films to be shown.
Mobilization of indigenous organizations: Indigenous organizations were provided with posters and pamphlets for information dissemination. They were also asked to sell seasonal tickets.
• Decoration of the venue: Venue, City Hall and Tourism Board, was decorated auspicious symbols of different communities. Lungdar (Buddhist prayer flags) was erected at the entrance of the City Hall and Tourism Board, statue of Sheep which is considered good luck by Gurung community, was put at the door of the hall. Similarly, Seelam Sakma (symbol that drove off evil spirits) of Limbu community was erected in the garden of the City Hall. Main venue, City Hall Stage was decorated with huge NIIFF '08 Banner as the Backdrop, flower pots and 11 PANAS (oil lamp) were put in the front of the stage to light them for the inauguration.
• Printing of materials: Catalogue containing short introduction of the films and film makers were produced. Files made of Nepali hand-paper, posters, pamphlets, identity cards, letter of appreciation to volunteers and t-shirts with the logo of NIIFF and IFA were printed. Files containing information materials were distributed to volunteers, organizers and supporting organizations. Where as T-shirts and letter of appreciation were distributed to volunteers.
• Mobilization of volunteers: 30 Volunteers were mobilized during NIIFF '08. There were 23 women and 5 men (see Annex IV for details) volunteers from Mountain, hill and Terai regions. They were involved in decoration of the venue, welcoming of the guests, ticket selling, managing sitting arrangement, introducing the films (films that is screening) and facilitating the discussion after the screening and so on. They were not only involved in their respective works but also showing their traditional costumes.
3.2. NIIFF '08 in Action
• Inauguration of NIIFF '08: Cultural shows of Magar, Gurung, Rai, Limbu, Dhimal and Majhi were showcased in the premises of City Hall before and after the inauguration of the program. 11 young Constituent Assembly Members of different indigenous communities lit the oil lamp to remark the NIIFF ’08 and to inaugurate the Festival. Those CA Members were Sita Gurung, Parvati Thapa Magar, Lucky Sherpa, Govinda Chepang, Tashi Shyangmo Gurusheni, Rukmani Chaudhari, Bhimraj Rajbanshi, Hari Limbu, Tul Bahadur Majhi, Ramkaji Maharjan and Dil Bahadur Ghishing. In the inauguration program, Jitpal Kirat, Vice President of NFDIN; Pasang Sherpa, President of NEFIN; Mr. Ed Doe, Head of Aid, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and honorable Ambassador of Denmark Mr. Fin Thealstead spoke on indigenous issues and importance of film festival.
• Screening of films: 52 indigenous films from Nepal and abroad were screened in NIIFF '08. There were 23 films of 11 different language speaking indigenous groups from Nepal and 28 indigenous films from different indigenous communities from 11 countries (Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and United States of America). Film Festival started with the screening of 'Karma' (in Lowa language) directed by Tsering Ritar Sherpa and ended with 'Malami' (in Nepali Language) produced by Nabin Subba and directed by Subarna Thapa. There was overwhelming supports from the people of Kathmandu to this NIIFF ’08 Films festival that lasts for four days from 6 - 9 June 2008 (see Annex I for details, schedule of screening films).
• Selection of best films and film makers: It was decided to award films in six categories in order to encourage film makers and producers to invest on indigenous films. Categories were: “Best of the Best Award,” “The Aesthetic Award,” “Topical Relevance & Interpretation Award,” “Best Film in Nepali, Critics' Choice Award for Nepali” and “The Encouragement Award for Nepali” (See Annex II for list of award winning films). Films were awarded on the basis of audience vote and a jury team of critics. The team of critics was made up of individuals and journalists who have been writing on films and involved in film making.
• Awarding the film and filmmakers: On the closing session of NIIFF '08, awards were given to the films and filmmakers in different categories. Similarly, all films and film makers were given letter of participation.
3.3. Side events
• Interaction on indigenous rights: One day interaction on ILO Convention no. 169 and UN Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples was held on 7th at the premises of Tourism Board. The objective of the first interaction program was to make film makers familiar with indigenous peoples' rights protected in ILO Convention no. 169 as well as in UN Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples and rights protected in international human rights documents. Dr. Krishna Bahadur Bhattachan and Lawyer Shankar Subba spoke on the subject. 51 film makers participated in the workshop (see Annex V for the list of film makers).
• Interaction on making of music video on a song of Late Gopal Yonjan: One day interaction program was held on making 5 minutes long music video on a song "Paschhim ta kohi purba ghar" composed by Late Gopal Yonjan. Film makers from different parts of Nepal agreed to collect footage to develop this particular music video.
• Food Festival: Indigenous women's organizations furnished 11 food stalls in the festival (See list in Annex III). Different ethnic cuisines were served in 11 food stalls. People got the opportunity to taste different food whereas indigenous women organization raised fund for their organization as well.
• Handicraft exhibition: Handicraft stalls were placed inside the City Hall. Handicraft stalls showed indigenous skills and arts. Six indigenous communities put stalls and they were - Limbu, Yakkha, Tamang, Magar, Gurung and Sunuwar. Not only did they show traditional skills but also did business by selling them. They made the selling of approximately ten thousand rupees.
• Visit to Ethnic Museum: Nepal Tourism Board provided free entrance on each ticket. Due to this promotional activity, many audiences visited the Ethnic Museum situated inside the Nepal Tourism Board and got to know more about different caste and ethnic groups.