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NDC-Nepal hosts 3-day program on Nepali Films in London, UK

On the first day, there was an interaction and film exhibition; on the second day at the Embassy of Nepal in the UK, on the third day discussion with the officials of the British Film Institute and a visit to the institute.

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LONDON: National Delphic Council Nepal (NDC-Nepal) organized a program on ‘Six Decades of Nepali Cinema, Challenges, and Exploring the International Market’ in London, UK on 10-13 February, 2024.

On the first day, there was an interaction and film exhibition; on the second day at the Embassy of Nepal in the UK, on the third day discussion with the officials of the British Film Institute and a visit to the institute.

The Chairman of the Film Development Board, Mr. Bhuwan KC, the Chairman of NDC-Nepal, Mr. Sridev BL, the Vice President of NDC-Nepal, Jiwan Parajuli, and Nepali filmmakers from Nepal and the United Kingdom were present on the occasion.

Discussions were held on the presence of Nepali films in the UK market, their potential, complexity, the role played by the Nepali diaspora, the efforts made by the Nepali Government, the role to be played by the government, the expectations of the Nepali diaspora community from the government for the international market of Nepali films, and the importance of the international film market for the economic and social development of Nepal.

Speaking on the occasion, Film Development Board Chairman Mr. KC advised filmmakers living abroad to study the Nepali film market before making films. “I have received complaints that filmmakers living abroad often lament the lack of theaters in Nepal after producing a film.

However, before embarking on a film project, one should acquire knowledge about how, why, and for whom the film is being made. How many theaters are there in Nepal? What is the market for Nepali films? What kind of films do audiences prefer? We need to conduct thorough research before producing a film,” he emphasized.

Chairman KC argued that films should not be viewed solely as a form of entertainment. He stated that films will play a significant role in promoting the country’s culture and tourism, emphasizing the importance of spreading the Nepali language worldwide through cinema. Highlighting the Nepali-speaking community as the primary audience for Nepali films, he remarked, “Films promote art, culture, language, and tourism. We must spread our language worldwide through films, encouraging people everywhere to speak our language, embrace our culture, and respect our art. Ultimately, it seems that Nepali cinema is making strides forward. To achieve this, we must cherish our country’s films. Above all, we must cultivate the habit of watching our own films.”

Chairman KC announced that the Board would commence facilitating efforts by appointing film representatives in international markets where there is potential for Nepali films. He mentioned that he would take the initiative to begin this process in the British market.

During the interaction, Nepali filmmakers living in the UK shared their grievances with the board and the community. They explained the complexities involved in expanding Nepali films in the UK market. Recalling instances where films were released without attracting an audience, they emphasized that Nepali films cannot penetrate the international market unless the Nepali community living in the UK prioritizes them. They stated that a substantial audience is necessary to promote Nepali cinema globally without prioritizing foreign films. Approximately 150 representatives from various regions and communities, including filmmakers, participated in the interaction.

On the first day of the program, the Nepali film ‘Halkara’, directed by Mr. Bikram Sapkota, was screened. The film had participated in the Academy Awards (Oscars) and had won various international awards. Similarly, audio-visual material prepared by the Film Development Board was presented to promote Nepal as a natural and open filming studio. Additionally, the Film Development Board provided various information by setting up a desk.

On the second day of the program, a meeting was held with the Nepali Ambassador to the UK, H.E. Gyan Chandra Acharya. During the meeting, discussions were held on the fundamental steps required to strengthen the presence of Nepali cinema in the UK.

Ambassador Acharya mentioned that the embassy could serve as a bridge between Nepali cinema and the UK market, offering support for the promotion of Nepali films in the UK, and appointing contact persons for Nepali art and culture. Chairman of the Film Development Board, Bhuwan KC, along with officials of the National Delphic Council Nepal President Sridev BL and Vice President Jiwan Parajuli, held discussions with Ambassador Acharya.

On the third day of the program, officials of the British Film Institute were briefed about the collaboration between Nepali films and the British Film Institute (BFI), the facilities available for filming Nepali films in the UK, the preservation of films made with old technology, digitization, and the steps taken by BFI to make those films easily accessible to the general public. BFI’s Head of Cultural Partnership, Mr. Robin Baker, along with Mrs. Agnieszka Moody, NDC-Nepal President Mr. Sridev BL, Vice President Mr. Jiwan Parajuli, Film Development Board Chairman Mr. Bhuwan KC, Board representative Mr. Nirajan Giri, and Nepal Film Directors’ Guild’s UK Chapter Coordinator Mr. Sanam Kumar Bairag were present on the occasion. Board Chairman KC stated that initiatives would be taken for collaboration, digitization, and easy access to the general public based on the suggestions and concepts received from the BFI.

President of NDC-Nepal, Mr. Sridev BL, announced that various programs would be gradually organized in different countries worldwide inhabited by Nepalis over the next two years. “Nepal has enjoyed friendly relations with the United Kingdom for centuries, leading to a significant presence of Nepalis here. This is why Delphic has organized its first international event in the UK. In the next two years, we will host various events in many other countries,” he stated. He emphasized that such programs would accelerate the pace of Nepali cinema reaching the international market and contribute to policy formulation. BL argued that the Nepali diaspora should take initiative for the international development of Nepali cinema, art, and culture.

Speaking on the occasion, Vice President of NDC-Nepal Mr. Jiwan Parajuli argued that the promotion of films should not be limited to filmmakers alone. He emphasized the need to cultivate a culture of cinema and awareness among the general community. Parajuli asserted that Nepali films could establish a strong presence in the international market only if the culture of watching Nepali films could be fostered within the international community. Highlighting the concept of the Delphic Council that sees artistry in every field, he stated, “The notion that only fields like film, music, and painting constitute art is erroneous. There is no field devoid of art.

Therefore, Delphic encompasses all areas artistically.” He announced that various programs would be organized in the coming days to promote Nepali art and culture on the international stage.