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Posts tagged "nepal"

‘Serdhak’ – The Golden Hill, Interview with Nepali Filmmakers at Seattle International Film Festival

Posted by Leonard on May, 30, 2015

I recently attended the screening of the world premier of the Nepali film Serdhak – The Golden Hill at SIFF, The Seattle International Film Festival. Following the QnA, I scooped up the young filmmakers, director and star/writer for some Seattle love beyond downtown and their hotel room. Over the years, I’ve visited Nepal 6 times living there for roughly a year and a half and speak almost fluent Nepali. I felt it my responsibility to host these young guys and share my city with them. We went down to Mertle Edwards Park on the Seattle waterfront and enjoyed a gentle breeze and beautiful sunset on a warm night in late May. This is a spontaneous interview we did discussing the making of the film.
Follow their progress as the film begins screening internationally at https://www.facebook.com/SerdhakTheFilm
Our interview:

The trailer:

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Returning to Nepal, A Place I Love

Posted by Leonard on January, 31, 2014

I recently returned to Nepal for the 6th time in 20 years. Nepal has a special place in my heart after having studied there and learning the language for the first time in 1995. I subsequently spent time as a volunteer, working in tourism, teaching English, making movies and generally exploring this wonderful country.

Back in 2009, I’d filmed 3 videos for the Seattle Channel connecting Seattle and Nepal; about a Bellevue based nonprofit working to end the stigma of disability in Nepal, about a young Tibetan Lama who was born and family lives in Seattle, and about Bhutanese refugees being resettled in Seattle’s Rainier Valley‘s. I also shot a series of random videos for my YouTube channel that have been enjoyed worldwide including among the Nepali diaspora.

This was my first time back in 5 years and though I was returning mostly as a tourist, I did manage to do some filming, with the goal of developing my DSLR skills. Typically for work I am shooting with my Panasonic HVX 200 camera that uses a very different approach, but in this case was working primarily with my Canon (though I did also shoot some video on my Flipcam and GoPro). I’d set a rather unrealistic goal of making a short documentary about Kathmandu. While the idea itself was very doable, I’d set out to take on a project that required more than the roughly 4 days of filming I’d given myself.

Traveling with an old friend, we’d spend most of the trip outside the capitol city in mountain villages, then a few back in the big city together. He left 5 days before I did and it was in that window that I’d planned to do the work. Needless to say, I made the mistake of scheduling a bunch of interview shoots, which all turned out to be great and well worth the time. But in doing do, I didn’t leave myself near enough time to shoot b-roll and wander, which ironically was so strange given it was that wandering unplanned shooting that really inspired me and brings me the greatest joy in the first place. That plus the emphasis I put on the DSLR side instead of the exploration and having fun which I should have kept as the focus.

With that goal guiding me, I’d connected with my friend Dan McComb, an excellent Seattle DSLR filmmaker about some gear to rent in support of my goal. I ended up renting a hot lens, the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8, a Zacuto viewfinder, a microphone and a few other things. In the long run, there was a real part of me which wished I’d just gone for it with my Flipcam and not wasted any time trying to learn new gear. The main difference with the DSLR approach is for me that I’m used to running and gunning as a one man band, with built in audio, and limited variations. I’ve already mastered the gear I work with and know how to make things happen alone and on the fly. Not with my Canon.

So I shot a handful of great interviews with an urban planner, a cinematographer, a political writer, a DJ, a human rights worker, and a handful of others- mostly friends and friends of friends who I had connections to and loved all of those interactions. Those will each no doubt stand on their own as great interviews that I’ll share via YouTube and Vimeo but the main thread to hold it all together with beautiful chaotic visuals just wasn’t there cause I failed to make it happen. Good but frustrating lesson to have learned. I did shoot some additional videos with my flip cam, some sweet timelapses with my new GoPro, and some really great stuff with my Canon as well. The main challenge with the DSLR system is the need for everything to be on a tripod, which was antithetical to my random street shooting flow.

Here are a few random photo selections from the trip

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Pangeality Productions Wins National NATOA Award

Posted by Leonard on July, 26, 2010

Via my work with The Seattle Channel, I’ve just learned that we won a NATOA Award, commonly referred to as the Emmys of government television. The Government Programming Awards (GPAs) are annual awards that recognize excellence in broadcast, cable, multimedia and electronic programming produced by local government agencies, in this case The City of Seattle.  The piece was the story about Rob Rose and his organization The Rose International Fund for Children and their work on behalf of young people with disabilities in Nepal, and the movement to battle the stigma of disability in Nepal and South Asia. We won’t know until September whether we won the category or not, but the nomination itself is an award as all nominations are given recognition for their work. There will be an awards banquet in Washington D.C. in early October. Very cool.

This is the piece

Challenging The Stigma of Disability in Nepal from Pangeality Productions on Vimeo.

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Connecting the dots, beyond filmmaking

Posted by Leonard on June, 28, 2010

As a filmmaker and videographer working internationally producing media about environmental and social issues, being able to make connections and have a positive impact is very rewarding. It was great to see 2 projects I’d worked on cross to create a unique opportunity.  It’s also nice to be able to continue my relationships with clients beyond the actual content production stage of our relationship, and this past Friday I had a nice synergy of client overlap.

A few months back while working on a story for Cedar Grove Composting at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show at The Washington Convention Center, I was following the food and beverage manager around the facility and filming while she talked about all the great food scrap and waste product composting they were doing there. When she lead me through the industrial kitchen, I saw people from all over the world working there, immigrants who didn’t all speak english but seemed happy in their work environment, and it occurred to me that perhaps this was a place where some of the Bhutanese Refugees I’d filmed in my story about their relocation to here in Seattle’s Rainier Valley, could also work.  So after checking with Cedar Grove to clarify that was an appropriate way to communicate with the Convention Center, I floated the idea, and the woman taking me on the tour was fine with it.

So here, a few months later, I was back at the Convention Center with a group of 10 refugees who have now been hired as part time workers there, washing dishes and doing other basic kitchen work.  To my surprise, it took about 5 hours of me translating and handholding to get all the paper work filled out together with a brief orientation around everything from getting uniforms to how to enter the building and what to expect when they showed up for their first shifts tomorrow. Taking so long wasn’t a big deal for me as it felt great to see some of these refugees so excited to be getting some actual work.  Arriving in America over the last 2 years with our economy in shambles, it’s been a very tough time to find work and for almost all of them it will be their first actual employment here in America.  They’ll be making the WA state minimum wage of $8.55/hr and some of them will be working the night shift from 10PM – 6 AM but overall they were incredibly excited and very grateful for the opportunity I’d facilitated for them.

Of the ten of them, there were 2 sisters, 2 brothers, one husband and wife and their 2 sons and daughter in law, ranging in age from 19-mid 50’s and best of all, the father featured in the piece I produced about their resettlement. He’s been here for 2 years now and with no language or work skills, he’s been very bored and unengaged in little more than going to ESL classes that are slow and frustrating and taking care of his young grandson, but little positive engagement with the outside world because of his limited language skills.  So he was very excited and couldn’t stop telling me how much it meant to him.  Also, I was very pleasantly surprised by how positive and supportive the staff getting them all signed up were, from the HR manager to the head chef (who had been to and loved Nepal as a tourist and knew how lovely Nepali people were), they were patient and joyful and overall really ready to give these folks a chance which is exactly what they need. Unfortunately the work is not full time but hopefully once they get a chance to prove themselves and the economy picks up, that there’ll be opportunities for more long term employment. My hope is that over time, this venue will have positions for more Bhutanese Refugees.

Here is the piece I produced about composting food scraps at the Convention Center http://vimeo.com/10096783

Here is the piece about the resettlement of Bhutanese Refugees from camps in Nepal to Seattle’s Rainier Valley http://vimeo.com/7260916

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Article in Nepali newspapers ‘Republica’ & Kathmandu Post about our Emmy Nominated video

Posted by Leonard on May, 18, 2010

Click on the image below to read the article

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Pangeality Productions nominated for 2 Emmy Awards

Posted by Leonard on April, 21, 2010

I was totally stoked to learn tonight that Pangeality Productions has been nominated for 2 regional Emmy’s by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  The regional chapter includes WA, OR, MT, ID, and AK. Of the 2 stories, which I coproduced with Penny LeGate and were part of a 3 part series connecting Seattle and Nepal for The Seattle Channel, the Little Lama story was nominated in the Human Interest category, and the Bhutanese Refugee story was nominated in the History/Cultural category.  Really excited for this.  The awards ceremony is June 5th at Snoqualmie Casino with the full red carper and everything.  Click here to see the whole list of nominees.

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Lecture & Film Screening at Wallingford Worldwide Books & Maps

Posted by Leonard on April, 14, 2010

On Tuesday night I had the pleasure of screening 4 of my films and giving a short talk at Wallingford Worldwide Books and Maps in Seattle. I showed the 3 films I produced last year for The Seattle Channel connecting Seattle and Nepal and one short piece about tea shop culture in Nepal. There was a crowd of about 25 folks, most over 50 years old and about half of whom had been to Nepal before. 3 of the films were about Dispelling the Stigma of Disability in Nepal, A young Tibetan boy who left his family in Seattle to be raised as a future lama and spiritual leader, and one about Bhutanese Refugees being resettled in Seattle’s Rainier Valley.

Delivering presentation @ Worldwide Books & Maps

I spoke about how the stories came about, the stages of production and actually telling these stories, and the trip overall. The dialogue went great, and people seemed moved by the variety and depth of the stories. As I stood in back of the crowd watching along with them, I was impressed and proud at the quality of the stories and the variety of issues they dealt with. Being in a travel bookstore, it was the perfect mix of tourism and sharing of a destination with folks in a socio-cultural investigation that asks one to look at their understanding of both cultures. WWB&M holds similar lectures every Tuesday night.

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KBCS’s Voices of Diversity Program this Wed. to focus on Seattle’s Bhutanese Refugee Community

Posted by Leonard on April, 5, 2010

This week I’ll be a guest together with the Rizal family on KBCS’s program Voices of Diversity. The Rizal’s are the Bhutanese Refugee family featured in the story I did last year for the Seattle Channel that told the story of their journey from a refugee camp in SE Nepal to Seattle’s Rainier Valley. Living in the camp for 18 years after being forced out of Bhutan, the UN and various countries recently moved to resettle the community of 110,000 to new countries, the vast majority coming to areas scattered across the United States. Khem is one of 4 brothers that I originally met when driving down Rainier Avenue one afternoon in the late summer of 2008, recognizing them by their Nepali hats (I speak somewhat fluent Nepali after having lived there for a year and a half spread out over 15 years). A year and half later we have become friends and I’ve remained connected to their community, helping to connect them with resources and jobs, and taking groups on occasional walks to Seward Park. Khem and his brother Krishna celebrated election night 2008 at our house with friends, and I was fortunate enough to witness he and his brother Mani’s wedding celebration to 2 sisters recently. Right now the thing their steadily growing community needs are jobs. They are lovely people who need opportunities. If you have any work or leads, please get in touch with me. Listen to the archived radio program here.

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