PHULSIRI a film by NGIMA GELU LAMA
Synopsis One and a half months after the devastating earthquake reduced an entire village to rubble, and a ten-year-old girl longs for normality. News reaches her that school will re-open in a day and she is understandably overjoyed, but there is a hitch: she must first locate her shoes --- mandatory under new school rules --in the debris that was once her home. Phulsiri (51 min) 2016, Nepal â€¨ Color â€¨ Gurung with English Subtitle
DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT Two months after the earthquake I was on the way to a village to interview a woman whose husband was among the six who had died. It was during this assignment for an INGO that I saw a lone girl searching for something in a fallen house. It was 5:45 pm so I was curious as to what might so important for her to search alone. Shanti Ghale, 17 yrs old of Laharepauwa VDC, Nuwakot told me that she was looking for her shoes since her school was reopening the next day. In the end she left without her shoes. I remember asking her why school was important to her. Her exact words were: “My school mates crack jokes, we laugh and its fun.”
On another assignment I met Dhwoj Gurung, a young painter from epicenter who showed me a video of survivors performing a cultural dance. The dancers were Gurung men in traditional women attire, seemingly in trance, and moving to the same rhythm again and again. At the time many people were still traumatized, and we were still experiencing regular aftershocks of more than 5M , so I couldn’t help but ask why they were dancing at such a time. Dhwoj replied that it was their culture and they were also welcoming visitors to the village. As I continued to watch the dancers and the spectators, I sensed a resilience and strong desire to move on from the tragedy, the same resilience and desire I also sensed in Shanti Ghale.
Shanti Ghale became inspiration for Phulsiri, main character of my film amidst backdrop of rich cultural traditions of the Gurungs.
Phulsiri is about Gurung community at the epicenter Ghyachchok, a village of Gorkha, which is struggling to get back to normal life after 46 days of living in disorder and disorientation. I was fascinated by the traditions of Gurungs who inhabited these mountains. The Gurungs are a TibetoBurmese people, who originally migrated from western Tibet and brought with them traditions of the animist Bön faith, which predates Buddhism. The gallantry of these Gurungs has been honoured by the UK with several VictoriaCrosses for their service in diﬀerent worldwars. I was interested to explore in my film how Gorkhali gallantries would react to the destructive forces of nature. Hence, to go closer to reality, almost all cast were chosen from the village. Phulsiri is also the first film of all casts.
Ours was only five people crew. Even as we were filming on location at epicenter, there were aftershocks. We never forgot that we were in earthquake zone, and that our hosts were still struggling to get their lives back in order.
Shanti Ghale searching for her school shoes. Photo: Ngima Gelu Lama
DIRECTOR’S BIO Ngima Gelu Lama (िङमा गेलु लामा ) was born in 1993 in Solukhumbu, an eastern district of Nepal and home of the famed Sherpas. Ngima graduated from Kathmandu University with a four year undergraduate degree in Media Studies. In 2011, he started his filmmaking career as cinematographer for short film Retro V. that won a national award. Since then he has continued to work in films, embarking his own climb to Everest. He has worked in feature documentary and fiction films that have been officially selected at prestigious international film festivals like Seattle, Montreal, and Mumbai. In 2016, he established Ama Dablam Pictures with the objective of helping to articulate the works of young filmmakers and creating a platform for alternative cinema in Nepal. The first production of Ama Dablam Pictures, PHULSIRI is his also first feature film as screenwriter, director and producer. Ngima is currently pursuing his master degree in Anthropology.
Introducing Bimala Gurung as Phulsiri
Bhim Bahadur Gurumg as Phulsiriâ€™s Father
Ram Sharan Upreti as Ram
Writer/ Producer/ Director Ngima Gelu Lama
Coproducer Furba Lama
Editor Ali Rasheed
DoP Ali Rasheed
Location Sound PushpaSangam
Production Company Ama Dablam Pictures Pvt. Ltd. Boudha 6, Kathmandu firstname.lastname@example.org