The Second Toronto Nepali Film Festival took place on 12 March this year, and drew over 300 film lovers from the Greater Toronto Area. Nine Nepali films were screened, comprising documentaries, shorts and experimental films. Jimmy Ghimire, a Nepali realtor based in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, said, "The program had a good mix; some films were funny, some intense, and some made you think."
The festival kicked off with The Last Race, a short fiction feature filmed in the Manang Valley. As Anjan Chettry, a TNFF director put it, "The film was so beautiful, just like a postcard." David Dunne, a Professor of Marketing at the University of Toronto, commented on In Three Years: "What started as a YouTube-like video proved to be a really funny, moving and profound film." There was plenty of praise for Forgive! Forget Not! as well, an experimental documentary by Pranay Limbu based on a Nepali journalist's 15-month detention in Kathmandu's Bhairabnath barracks. It was awarded the Jurors Choice Award.
Krishna Gaudel, an accountant who lives in downtown Toronto, said of Kesang Tseten's In Search of the Riyal: "In many ways I felt the story parallelled my own migratory experience." The film documents the exploited lives of Nepali migrant workers in Qatar and won one of the Audience Choice Awards. Sherpas: The True Heroes of Mount Everest won the other audience award. Boyan Mihaloyv, a Bulgarian student, wondered why it was that "the western climbers pay $60,000 but the Sherpas only get $5,000?"
The festival was also a world premiere for Vancouver-based Pradeep Kumar Sharma's The Rat Hunters. After a day of intense viewing, then, the festival closed with a story-telling dance performance by Kalimpong-born Deepali Lindbloom, and an energetic dance performance by Toronto's very own Swechchaa Pokharel.
The author is the curator of the Toronto Nepali Film Festival.