Filmmaking in Nepal

By Jake Morris, 6.1

In February half term, I went to Nepal – a country with an incredibly rich and diverse culture, which makes it the perfect basis for a film.

It seems that whenever anyone speaks about Nepal, they instantly think of the Himalayas or Mount Everest, but not nearly as many people speak about who or what lies beneath the villages clinging to existence on the mountain slopes (they may look photogenic to Westerners, but in reality, people there live below the poverty line) or the extensive smog that hangs above the hustle and bustle of its capital city, Kathmandu.

When I realised this, the title of the film – ‘Light and Shade’ – came into my mind. It was an idea with two meanings; the physical light contrast, but also the way of Nepali life being so different to ours.

The idea of ‘shade’ is what people who live in the Western Hemisphere may percieve to be a harsh lifestyle – carrying an extremely heavy stack of corrugated iron on your head for hours on end, or using a toilet that to us might be a ‘rubbish tip’ – but for many people in Nepal it is the norm. It really makes you think how we take things for granted. I also wanted to highlight in the idea of ‘shade’ the sheer amount of poverty and rubbish which is almost overlooked, because the main focus in Nepal is the natural beauty. A more recent issue is the impact of West on this country – while I was in Pokhara, Nepal’s second largest city, I was shocked to see a KFC restaurant, illustrating the effect of both tourism and Western culture on this ancient culture.

When making the film, I shot on a DSLR Camera with a gimbal for stabilisation. You always have to be careful when photographing people and speaking a different language to the vast majority of Nepalese. It is often just the case of hand gestures and asking ‘can I take a photo?’ The one time I didn’t ask, a lady rushed out of her house shouting in Nepalese and threatened to beat me with a stick – she then decided it was a better option to throw a pair of moldy pants at me, which was only marginally better!

It was an incredible experience to have and I am hoping to pursue filmmaking as a career.

View Jake’s YouTube channel, JCM Morris Films, here.