Dekel Berenson
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ASHMINA - Oscar Qualified

In an impoverished country, rife with contradiction, a young girl is torn between her obligation to her family and the influence of foreign visitors.

The Film

Set between a beautiful lake and the Himalayas, Ashmina, 13, lives with her family at the outskirts of Pokhara Nepal, paragliding capital of the world. The remote and traditional town is also a busy tourist destination where the locals are profoundly affected by the swarms of tourists who visit it daily. Forced to skip school, Ashmina helps her family make ends meet by working at the landing field, packing the parachutes of foreign pilots in return of small change.

Director's Statement

Ashmina’s story was inspired by a 2014 trip to Nepal. Following a mountain climbing expedition in the Everest region, I’ve travelled to Pokhara to complete my training as a paragliding pilot. I was immediately captivated by the young children who were working in the landing field and instantly knew that I will one day return to Nepal to capture their story on film.

From the very beginning, I’ve envisioned Ashmina as a social realist film. It was shot in open locations, using mostly available light and a local semi-professional crew. The cast is made of locals, non actors who we’ve met in the location in which the story takes place. The foreigners portraying David and his friends are backpackers who we’ve met in the streets of Pokhara who had to take time off from their travels so they could participate in the film.

Ashmina attempts to authentically capture the world of the protagonist, a young Nepali girl living in a traditional society, a culture which is threatened and challenged by the flood of tourists who visit it daily. The people, places, and atmospheres we’ve captured in the film are real, and the crew was minimal which allowed us to work inconspicuously and capture the essence of the world around us.

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Technical Details

Shot in January 2018 in Pokhara, Nepal
Première: 62nd BFI London Film Festival, October 14th, 2018
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 15’ 30
Aspect Ratio: 1:2.39
Screening Format: 2K DCP, .mov, mp4 (HD)
Sound: 5.1 Stereo.
Shot on Red Helium, 8K, 25 fps.
Language: Nepali, English, German.
Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Korean, Chinese, Hebrew.

Ashmina Dekel Berenson