While Film South Asia (FSA) brings stories from around the subcontinent, it is the Nepali entries that usually appear to attract the most attention. The audiences, however, are not only acting on their loyalty. Nepali documentaries have risen above their commercial counterparts, and excel in their subjects, storytelling style and quality.
This year, FSA '11 is showcasing 36 documentaries, out of which four tell stories from Nepal.
Nepal, 2010, dir - Stefano Levi
1.30pm , Friday, 30 September
Cataract disease, a clouding of the clear lens of the eye that causes blindness, is curable but the treatment is too expensive for the rural mass. Sanduk Ruit from Nepal and his American partner, Geoff Tabin, are in a mission to offer affordable cataract surgery and have developed a potable low-cost surgical procedure to restore sight to cataract disease victims. Filmmaker Stefano Levi follows the two doctors as they trek to Nepal's remote northeast, carrying an entire hospital on porters' backs.
Nepal, 2010, dir - Kesang Tseten
5pm, Friday, 30 September5
The film trails the story of Dolma, a Nepali maid sentenced to death for allegedly killing a fellow Filipino domestic worker in Kuwait. As the film searches for truth in the event, it provides a rare glimpse into the fractured lives of ill-prepared women migrant workers in the Gulf states. Kesang Tseten is the director of numerous documentaries such as Hami kunako manchhe, On the Road with the Red God: Machhendranath, In Search of the Riyal.
Nepal, 2011, dir - Dipendra Bhandari
1.15pm, Satuday, 1 October
The opening film of this year's festival, Journey to Yarsa, follows the family of Punimaya as they join hundreds of others to collect yarsagumba, the Himalayan caterpillar-fungus that is worth its weight in gold in China for its supposed aphrodisiac properties. The whole village is padlocked for two months as the families travel to high mountains of Nepal. Filmmaker Dipendra Bhandari walks along Punimaya and her family to understand the ordeals they go through to find the prized yarsagumba.
Nepal, 2011, dir - Aurore Laurent,
3.45pm, Sunday, 2 October
In Kathmandu, Tiger Baba has become an aghori sadhu, a holy man. With a dark look, painted face and almost naked body, Baba fascinates some and frightens others. Aadesh Baba is the story of the sadhu's quest for the divine. Between alcoholic drifts and holy life, will Tiger Baba succeed? Filmmakers Aurore Laurent and Adrien Viel try to find out.