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.