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Jeremy Colson


Jeremy Colson's festival coverage.

Film Festival ambassador to filmfestivals.com
Visiting Athens, Bangkok, Cairo, Hanoi, Hiroshima, Phuket, Istanbul, Antalya, Estonia, Calcutta, Goa, Trivandrum, Kathmandu, Neasden and more.


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Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival 2010 gets under way

The 10th Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (KIMFF) got underway today and will screen some 62 films from 35 different countries before closing on Monday.

The opening ceremony was not attended by any celebrities; there were no film stars and only a handful of dignitaries. Instead of champagne and canapés, there was tea and biscuits.

 “ We thought of inviting the President, but we weren’t sure if we could handle the cavalcade that would follow,” said the Festival Director, Ramyata Kimbu, half joking in her opening remarks to a packed auditorium at City Hall in the Nepalese capital.


Ramyata Kimbu:
KIMFF director

Of course the real reason for the absence of any glitz is a serious lack of funding in this financially- challenged country. But it is precisely that lack of funds that frees the festival organizers from the nonsense that attaches to so many other film festivals around the world.

Without having to worry about the things that really don’t matter, the festival committee is able to focus on what does; namely the films, the directors, the competition and a handful of personalities who are dedicated to alternative cinema, in the raw.

KIMFF is special, but it is by no means the first mountain film festival. Trento in Italy pioneered the genre way back in 1952, and was followed by festivals such as Autrans (1984) in France, Kendal (1986) in the U.K.; Banff (1987) in Canada, and Telluride in the U.S.(1989).

Basanta Thapa: KIMFF chairman

 

 

 

 

 

“We took our cue from all these festivals, and we held the first KIMFF in 2000. We started as a biennial festival showing a handful of films to small audiences in the Russian Cultural Centre,” said the festival committee chairman, Mr Basanta Thapa in his opening remarks.

 But by 2006 it had become clear that the festival would have to move to a larger venue and become an annual event, which it did in 2007. It was a big jump and the committee wasn’t sure that the audience was big enough to fill City Hall.

They needn’t have worried. The response was overwhelming, and this year there will be back-to-back screenings not only in City Hall but also in a second venue nearby.

“KIMFF has become a major event that film buffs and the general public now look forward to from one year to the next,” said Mr Thapa, adding that in addition to films, the occasion is also used for workshops, photo and art exhibitions, book launches, slide presentations, lectures, and quiz contests.

He said that the word “mountain” in the festival’s name is only a metaphor. By no means are all the films about mountains or mountaineering. KIMFF gets films from across the globe dealing with a range of subjects such as the environment, bio-diversity, globalization, education, poverty, conflicts and rights issues, as well as culture and adventure.

The diverse nature of this year’s entries was well illustrated by two of the opening films. The first, “A Little Bit Mongolian” was the wholesome story of a middle-class 12-year-old Australian boy fulfilling his dream of competing against local children in the annual horse races of the Mongolian outback.

In stark contrast,  “Sick City” was a vivid fictional account of a young Nepalese family-man who turns to dealing drugs as a way to lift himself out of poverty. Set in Kathmandu, “Sick City” is a fast-moving local production that deserves to do well on the festival circuit.

Terry Gifford: KIMFF 2010 judge

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About Jeremy Colson

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This is the diary of a festival ambassador travelling throughout Asia and elsewhere around the world.  Festivals covered include: Bangkok, Phuket, Istanbul, Antalya, Estonia, London, Calcutta, Goa, Trivandrum, Chennai, Neasden and more


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