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Five Nepali women filmmakers are travelling to the UK this month to attend Sheffield DocFest, the UK’s leading documentary film festival and one of the world’s most influential markets for documentary projects. This delegation has been organised through the British Council’s Gender Film Programme, which is led by Taskovski Films, UK, in collaboration with Nepal Female Filmmakers and Pame Film and Music Festival. The programme is supported by Film Development Board Nepal.

Since 2022, the collaborators have been working together to ensure gender inclusion and representation in the Nepali film industry. As a professional development opportunity, a call for applications for women producers and directors—working on feature-length projects—was announced earlier this year through which a diverse group of 10 Nepali women filmmakers participated in virtual sessions from February till May 2022. The participants received facilitated sessions from UK experts and one-to-one mentoring sessions to help strengthen pitching, presentation skills, and a range of professional development training. Five of the participants, through the British Council’s support, will be travelling to Sheffield DocFest to put to use their learnings from the workshop sessions.

Gender representation in media is a critical contributor to social and cultural perceptions. To support the voice and agency of women/girls in the film sector, the British Council has been partnering with UK and Nepal organisations and Film Development Board Nepal to provide financial support and opportunities for capacity building. We are hopeful that this delegation becomes a steppingstone for the participants to further their careers and paves a way for other Nepali women filmmakers’ representation in the international film sector,’ says Shahida MacDougall, Country Director, British Council, Nepal.

We are happy to support this cohort of Nepalese women filmmakers, we have been helping them develop their local stories that can be internationally recognised. Over the few months, we conducted individual sessions and group sessions with international tutors. Sharing resources, and watching films have been another important part of the training. Another main aim of jointly initiating this specific program is to provide these young women with the opportunity to travel to Sheffield DocFest and learn how to prepare for industry events, meet possible collaborators and present their ideas,’ says Irena Taskovski, CEO & Founder of Taskovski Films. 

Film Development Board Nepal and the British Council have maintained a partnership since 2019 and have been working together in film archival, capacity-building projects and gender film programmes.  ‘We are pleased to work with the British Council and will continue supporting the promotion of the Sheffield delegation. In an industry dominated by men—globally and in Nepal—we find it important to help women filmmakers in Nepal to build capacity and gain access to platforms through which they can promote their work,’ says Chiranjibi Guragain, Film Archive, Information and International Relations Officer. 

About Sheffield DocFest

About Taskovski Films

About Pame Film Festival

About Film Development Board 

Aashruti Tripathy

Aashruti Tripathy is a filmmaker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Media Studies from Kathmandu University, her academic research focuses on ‘Analysis of Nepali film posters’. Her first fiction short was premiered on Himalayan Television as part of a series while still a student. She has experience working as a Director, Assistant Director, Cinematographer, and Editor. Her experiences as a filmmaker ranges from TV to web series, and documentaries. She is also a recipient of the ‘preventing sexual violence initiative’ (PSVI) filmmaking workshop and film festival 2018. She has also interned as a photojournalist for The Kathmandu Post and worked as a multimedia associate for an NGO, Daayitwa Nepal, focusing on youth employment and rural entrepreneurship. 

Pinki Sris Rana

Pinki Sris Rana, a Media Studies graduate, works as a Culture and Arts Reporter for The Kathmandu Post (TKP), She has worked as a reporter in AP1 HD covering social, environment and gender issues and as a Research and Project Coordinator at Gauthali Entertainment, a Nepal-based cinema company which advocates for women’s issues and their visibility in media. She also runs her own program on YouTube called ‘Tarka Bitarka’ where young people analyze policies, and political issues that are not deemed important by the mainstream media. 

Prashansha KC

Prashansha KC is an engineering student, a filmmaker, a YouTuber and a social activist. Prashansha has worked on a number of projects in collaboration with diverse organizations as a filmmaker, and in 2020, was selected to receive a grant under a UNICEF and British Council initiative to create a film about mental health in the context of the pandemic. Her film “Euta Sahayog” is a touching message for young people on the importance of reaching out for help and not giving up. Currently, she is working on a ‘Gender film grant’ by The British council Nepal, Taskovski films, Nepal Film Board, and Pame Music and film festival. 

Prasuna Devi Dongol

 Prasuna Devi Dongol is a documentary filmmaker and festival manager, currently associated with the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival and the Nepa Female Filmmaker group. She is a British Council mentor for young filmmaking programme Camera Sika which is run with Into Film, UK. Her documentary Dolpa Diary was awarded “Best Adventure Mountain Film award 2018 and “Best Woman Filmmaker” 2019. In September 2019 she received a Film Grant from Film South Asia to produce a documentary around the issue of Visual depiction of Women and Sexual Violence in Southasia.  She is also a One World Media Global Short Doc fellow of 2021. Her debut feature film Before you were my mother premiered in May of 2022. She is currently part of a support group helping put together a national programme in film for young people.

Smriti Basnet

Smriti Basnet is an aspiring film producer with experience in production management and film festival programming. She was involved as the line producer for Bare Trees in the Mist (2019) which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival. Smriti has a proven track record of having handled productions for short documentaries. Currently heading the productions for the Amuse Group, she oversees content production for organisations like UNICEF, British Council, Save the Children, and the World Bank. Basnet has worked as a reporter for multiple national and international publications, such as Economic Times, Nepali Times and ECS Media, among others. In Nepali Times, she was able to experiment with shooting and editing news pieces, adding to her experience of producing media in various formats.