- Our Journey
Docskool started in 2008 as a filmmaker’s response to institutionalized surveillance and limited artistic control of cinema in Nepal. In 2009 Docskool initiated its first space for filmmakers – Kathmandu Film Center, a garage top office/ resource hub for filmmakers. We have since worked extensively to promote intellectual sovereignty, freedom in arts, artist’s development and encouraged filmmaking as a tool to question and introspect human change in transition.
Spending a decade with cinema development from Nepal, Docskool today works with a focus on the cinema of 9 countries in South Asia. They include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Through our professional support programs, Docskool has supported the development of 30 films in numerous indigenous and local languages in 4 years (2014-2018). These projects deal with some of the most compelling contemporary issues of our societies told by ourselves. Docskool supported filmmakers have appeared at highly regarded programs including the Cannes Cinefondation, Locarno Open Doors, Asian Cinema Fund, Rotterdam Labs among others.
In 2016 Docskool started building the Ehwa Arts Residency space in a village not far from Kathmandu. The new residency provides long-term professional support, development bridging and film related trainings to film and media workers.
Docskool was key advisor to the Locarno International Film Festival – Open Doors (South Asia edition).
Women in cinema support program
Only one in ten filmmaker in South Asia is a woman or identifies as a woman. Docskool understands its not enough to tell women centric stories as we dont believe there are any. We believe women can be in control of their own stories and professional processes need to be tailored for women to take control of their own stories, for it to be told their way.
The women in cinema support initiative is a joint undertaking of Docskool with LOOM, a cohort of young feminist identifying campaigners who seek to find fairer opportunities within the women’s movement.
The initiative works with a select list of filmmakers from both fiction and non fiction each year working on their personal professional growth curve. During this period Docskool makes efforts to promote projects by filmmakers selected to the program, the key motivation of the program is to support women and women identifying filmmakers identifying their capacities to take control.
Clinik.Kathmandu is a project and personal skill development lab focused at South Asian filmmakers that was initiated in 2014. The lab is held on an annual basis for selected filmmakers nominated on the basis of their portfolio and eagerness to work on themselves.
The program is introducing a Documentary segment starting 2019. The revised lab will be held in two stages and is mandatory for attending filmmakers to participate in both the sessions.
Ehwa Arts Collaboratory
Ehwa is a film focused residency and workshop venue incorporated inside an existing farm house 45 kms on the outskirts of Kathmandu. The platform is house to all of Docskool’s residential programs and residencies. It offers residency opportunity for artists from multiple formats seeking space to work from Nepal.
Possibility Initiative (2010-2016)
For six years Docskool worked with Radio Udayapur, an all girl run Radio station in a semi urban part of Udayapur district in eastern Nepal. The project’s motivation was to recognise and implement key aspects that would support the sustainability of a women run community Radio station in Nepal. The project was effective in designing new strategic frameworks for the Radio alongside the creation of a new Media Center to be accessed by community members and as a training hub for future Radio jockeys. The project also formed a group of media producers representing only Women Media Producers, which is the first association of its sort in Nepal as an effort to encourage local knowledge sustainability and ownership of the stations future.
Radio Udayapur works in close partnership with its newly formed Airawat Media Group, both of whom are now partners of various womens rights organisations from around the world. The station receives over 60% of its operational capital from local markets.
LALTEEN – anthology feature
Produced by the Short Film Factory
In 2010 Docskool launched the idea of a new production support system for short/medium length films from filmmakers who are prepared to work on feature length projects but need a demo reel. This new production support process was called Short Film Factory and it undertook the making of an anthology film as its first project.
LALTEEN an anthology of three shorts was commissioned by Docskool to be directed by Pooja Gurung, Abinash Bikram Shah and Kshitiz Adhiraj. The film was completed and shown at the Nepal Cine Symposium in 2011.
Pooja Gurung and Abinash Shah went on to represent themselves at numerous international film programs independently.
Kathmandu Film Center
In 2009 Docskool saw tremendous value and need of a space that hosted regular film based events and acted as a support eco system of filmmakers in Kathmandu. The space would be equipped with basic film equipment’s to be used by filmmakers and provided referral books and DVD’s.
The center was the hub for all Docskool discourses, weekly film screenings and encouraged countless hours of discussions between filmmakers between 2009 – 2012 when it was officially shut due to fund restrictions.
The center’s idea is still alive and Docskool is looking for a collaborator to help bring it back to life in a more sustainable pattern. For the time being all those resources are available at the Ehwa arts platform.
Docskool’s journey started at a garage office that hosted film shows, provided film books and basic equipment’s to filmmakers. The room facilitated the development of some key filmmakers from Nepal known in the global arena today.
Docskool is one of the first organised groups to advocate for the recognition of Freedom of Expression in cinema and of filmmakers to be recognised as Cultural workers. This was carried on as Docskool’s central political agenda. Apart from advocacy materials, Docskool lobbied with the government through different meetings and discussions on this regard. Control over cinema and other creative mediums still exists in Nepal, however Docskool’s presence alongside Nepal’s changing political interface has changed many preoccupations.
Docskool has believed that providing opportunities which inspire personal and growth of the visual medium is our essential role. We have done so by establishing film funds, providing project development labs, short and long term trainings on cinema and year round residential facilities open to be used by artists of diverse mediums. (write to us is you want to know more about the Short Film Factory, Nepal Cine Symposium, Young Asian Film Market)
In 2013 Docskool saw the importance to focus on filmmakers based across South Asia building exchange opportunities between film artists. This would create a value of local learning and innovation driven growth into the sector. We have since worked with filmmakers from 9 countries through Clinik.Kathmandu. Over 30 filmmakers from different countries have developed full-length feature films through Docskool’s Clinik lab between 2014 and 2018. A regional solidarity is created between filmmakers and artists who support and encourage each other.
In 2016 Docskool initiated the development of an Artists Residency platform as a post earthquake support process. The Ehwa Arts Collaboratory is home to a wide range of Docskool operations today, it allows us to work closely with filmmakers all year round and support ongoing projects in multiple levels from story development to work in progress advisory. Filmmakers from around the world are invited to the platform and spend time with resident filmmakers.
'You Can Make Cinema' was a Freedom of Expression slogan used by Docskool between 2008-2011
Photo credits - Members of Pokhara Film Society
Docskool has collabrated with the following organisations/ programs in the past and present.
- Docedge Kolkatta
- Cinemart - Rotterdam International Film Festival
- HongKong Asia Film Financing Forum, HKIFF
- Goteborg International Film Festival Fund
- Locarno International Film Festival - Open Doors
- MIDPOINT, FAMU
- NFDC Labs India
- ASTM Luxembourg