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KUMARI GIRLS

BACKLOT & REVELATIONS PRODUCTIONS

Three M. M. Pvt. Ltd.
Three M. M. Pvt. Ltd.
filming-in-nepal-usa

Backlot Productions, a Los Angeles based production company in collaboration with  Revelations Entertainment founded by Morgan Freeman, approached Threemm Films for a documentary film project regarding the Living Goddess, Kumari, of Nepal. This documentary film was conceptualised by Dana Richie, the founder and producer of Backlot Productions and Iman Hobbs, a journalist. 

The significance of the age-old Kumari tradition lies in the fact that it is a traditional practice of the original indigenous inhabitants of the Kathmandu valley, the Newars, helping them preserve their identity. Newari happens to be the most protected/undisputed indigenous culture, language and practice- something that the monarchs and the current government also cannot challenge. There are 59 recorded indigenous nationalities in Nepal as of 2018 but none of the traditions that these indigenous communities practice are given the authentication that the Kumari tradition has been given since it is tied up with all of the biggest national festivals of Nepal. 

The Kumari tradition is a combination of both Hinduism and Buddhism, two of the largest prevalent religions of Nepal. A Kumari is a Living Goddess, chosen before puberty. Once her menstruation begins, she is replaced by another young girl. During the reign of the Kumari, it is believed that the Kumari is possessed by the spirit of Goddess Taleju Bhawani, and even a slight glimpse of her can cure ailments and bring luck.

START DATE

JANUARY, 2020

End Date

OCTOBER, 2022

Works Carried Out

  • On Location Translation
  • Interviews

  • Recce & Location Scouting
  • Videography

  • Production Support
  • Photography

  • Transportation
  • Fixer

Team Members

  • ULASHA GURUNG

    Cinematographer

  • Shyam Karki

    Cinematographer

  • Ashok Pahari
    Local Producer
  • Dana Richie

    Director & Producer

  • James Younger

    Producer

  • Iman Hobbs

    Advisor/Researcher/Co-Director

  • Yudhir Gautam
    Location Sound Recordist
  • Shekhar Karki

    Camera Assistant

OUR APPROACH

Despite the pace of the project slowing down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team from Threemm Films was in constant touch with Dana Richie and Iman Hobbs over zoom meetings to discuss the possible direction that this project was headed towards and the tangible outcome in the near future. 

The project started with initial research and profile identification. With the help of other local contacts, the team was able to get in touch with some of the key players involved in the Kumari tradition. Some of these key profiles were already in touch with Threemm Films. 

After the completion of the identification process, more research was conducted into the Kumari tradition and the team then began building contact with Kumari Girls who were no longer Kumaris. Initial Interviews were conducted in order to get more information regarding these profiles since the goal was to identify characters for the documentary film. 

Dana Richie, after receiving all this information from Threem Films’ team had a discussion with her team and came up with an idea to produce a short sizzle/trailer. The production of the sizzle was also one of a kind in Nepal since most of the scouting and research was initially done in writing whereas this shoot provided an insight into the lives of Kumari, Ex-Kumaris, the caretakers of Kumari and the researchers, all on tape so it would be easier for Dana and team to understand the scope of this project and connect with the characters. While filming in Nepal, the scenario changes in terms of the people involved in the production of documentaries. 

A local, for example, has all the necessary access to film in any part of the nation as opposed to foreign crews who would need filming permits in Nepal. 

The local crew was aware of all the potential challenges and obstacles involved while filming in Nepal. As a film production company with decades of experience, the shoot required proper planning and execution. The team started the day early and was all prepared to tackle the potential change in weather and other such unforeseeable events. After the production stage, the files were sent back to Dana who along with her team conducted the post production. This also required the detailed translation of the interviews since these video interviews were carried out in the local language. With experienced and expert translators, Threemm Films was able to swiftly get the translations done and then make necessary changes through online editing sessions with Backlot Productions. 

Threemm Films always strives to provide the best filming services to its clients and focuses on all of the potential challenges that filmmakers have to face in Nepal all the while keeping in mind the initial goal of the projects that comes its way.

OBJECTIVES

  • Carried out overall production design, schedules and transportation.

  • Carried out interviews and on location translations.

  • Recce and location scouting for filming the interviews.

  • Considered all safety measures in terms of COVID protocols for activities concerning the shoot along with carrying a first aid kit at all times.

  • Provided Equipment, with 24/7 on location delivery.

  • Provided catering for the filming crew.