Lalitpur Film Society has been filling the gap in quality screenings since 2017 with 28 free weekly shows and have a plan for the next 10 months.
The Society does not celebrate high-production value Bollywood or Hollywood films. They are more into lower-budget, high-quality, documentaries and films made by passionate producers, and talking about the issues and themes the films discuss. The aim of the group is simple: bring people together from a range of backgrounds to celebrate and debate their common interest of film.
“We don’t focus only on film, we focus on the bridge between social sciences and film,” says Matjaz Pinter, an original member of the society. A film maker himself, from Slovenia, with partner and film-maker Eva Pivac, the couple took films, old and new, on the area to the place they were filmed for the locals to watch. One of those films was their own: Takasera.
It was through the project that the pair met Bobby Thapa from Sattya Media Arts Collective, and their friendship blossomed through the medium of film.
Nepal has a rich culture of documentary making and festivals to celebrate the field. In the past year there have been the Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival, Ekadeshma International Short Film Festival and Film South Asia. The Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival is scheduled for December, and is the longest-running festival of its kind in Nepal.
The festivals attract plenty of viewers, but the group felt there was a need for a consistent offering. Hence, the Lalitpur Film Society.
“Most of our viewers are expats. But I want to see more Nepali people attending,” Thapa says, adding that he hopes young Nepali film makers can use it as a forum and a place of inspiration.
“We are trying to create a community. We have discussions and debate, and people return,” says Pinter.
There’s a strong ethnographic and anthropological focus on the choice of films, but there is nothing out of the picture, and they are open to suggestions.
“It’s tricky, because films are popular here and lots of people go to cinema, but it’s hard to believe there would be many wanting to see our kind of documentaries… you really need to have committed people.”
The film society started its screenings with a Soviet film from 1929, Man with a Movie Camera, so they had their doubts.
“But we were wrong”, Pinter acknowledges. People came back the next week, and the weeks following. Each film has an average of 25 attending, but sometimes it goes up to 55 people.
Among the most intriguing films and documentaries were the ones produced in North Korea. Hosted by the Society, there was open discussion following the screening with representatives from the North Korean embassy. People talked about it for weeks, Pinter recalls.
Most of the films are screened at The South Asia Institute, however because of erratic monsoon weather conditions, August screenings will be done at Marshall’s Pub in Kupundole Heights.
August 15: Orange Sunshine
by William A. Kirkley, 2016, 105min
Location: Marshall’s Pub,
August 22: Finding Fela!
by Alex Gibney, 2014, 119min
Location: Marshall’s Pub, Kupundole Heights
August 29: Cutie and the Boxer
by Zachary Heinzerling, 2013, 82min
Location: Marshall’s Pub,
September 5: Celluloid Man
by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur,
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