Kathmandu International Film Festival (KIMFF)
Kathmandu International Film Festival (KIMFF) is an annual film festival organized by Himal Association. Himal Association is a not-for-profit organization based in Kathmandu working consistently in the fields of journalism, communications, publishing, education, film festivals, and other related activities since its establishment in 1990.
They recently concluded the 20th edition of the KIMFF. It was co-hosted by the Kathmandu Metropolitan City, and promoted by Nepal Tourism Board. It was supported by UNESCO, the European Union Embassy in Nepal, the Swiss Embassy, WWF, FDB, NMA, British Council, Mila Production, Toni Hagen Foundation Switzerland, ICIMOD, Contemporary Art of Nepal Foundation, Pasang Lhamu Foundation, and the Australian Embassy.
The 5-day long event lasted from 8-12 December 2022 and was timed to mark the International Day of Mountains on the 11th of December. The screening of all the feature documentaries, fiction, shorts, experimental films, and animation took place on Rashtriya Sabga Griha (City Hall) and Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) Exhibition Road.
The theme for KIMFF this year was ‘Sustainable Summits’. Festival director Ramyata Limbu shared that the slogan was determined to acknowledge the challenges brought by climate change and the environmental crisis for mountain climbing. More than 60 films from 30 countries were featured in the film festival including the countries like Burkina Faso, France, Iran, Nepal, South Korea, UAE, and Wales. 20th edition was more special because the screening was conducted online for the last two years in the wake of the pandemic and finally two years down the line, a physical screening of the film was successfully hosted.
Jury Members of KIMFF 2022
The festival started with the introduction of the jury members—Jinna Lee, Kiran Bhakta Joshi, and Micheal Pause.
Jinna Lee has been a programmer at Ulju Mountain Film Festival(UMFF) since 2018 and has a Ph.D. in Film Studies from Hanyang University. She has served on the jury at the Jokja Netpac Asian Film Festival, the Kaohsiung Film Festival, the Mar del Plata International Film Festival, the Golden Horse Film Festival, the Jeonju International Film Festival, and the Busan International Kids and Youth Film Festival.
Kiran Bhakta Joshi, animation veteran, and director-producer is the founder and co-CEO of Incessant Rain Studios, a state-of-the-art animation, visual effects, and movie studio. He has over three decades of technical, artistic, and management experience in Hollywood.
Michael Pause has been the artistic director of the Tegernsee International Mountain Film Festival since it started in 2003. He started writing guidebooks in 1978, then edited a magazine and worked for 40 years as an author, director, producer, and presenter for a TV show about mountaineering for the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation. The jury was given the responsibility to judge the 18 shortlisted films for the international competition, and 19 for the top documentary film and fiction film in the Nepal Panorama selection.
Films and Documentary at KIMFF 2022
KIMFF has been organized since 2000. Films made on mountains, mountain people, their cultures, and environmental issues among others were shown at the festival. Over 20 national and international filmmakers participated in the event and interacted with the audiences in sideline events.
The festival was inaugurated by Bollywood director Prakash Jha. Indian filmmaker Prakash Jha of acclaimed features like Gangaajal and Raajneeti joined KIMFF 2022 as its keynote speaker, and his film Matto ki Saikil got a special screening at the event. Jha with the film’s director M. Gani also attended the Q&A session after the screening of the movie.
At the inauguration ceremony, Joel Evonet, Deputy Head of the European Union Mission to Nepal, discussed the contribution of the KIMFF to developing film culture in Nepal. She said that the EU is working in the fields of Nepal’s climate crisis, human rights, education, and health and culture promotion. Jury members Kiran Bhakta Joshi, Jinna Lee and Michael Pause then commented on the context associated with KIMFF.
In the festival, the first, second, and third place international films received Rs 200,000, Rs 150,000 as cash prize, while under Nepali Panorama, the best movies in fiction and documentary categories were given cash prizes of Rs 175,000. The best film selected from the ISMOD member countries received $1,000 including the ‘Best ISMOD Mountain Film Award’. Similarly, the film that got the most votes from the audience at the festival received Rs 50,000 through the ‘KIMFF Audience Award’.
Herney Katha “Bagh ko Bangara” (The Tiger’s Jaw)
The latest episode of the Nepali youtube series Herney Katha “Bagh ko Bangara” (The Tiger’s Jaw) kicked off KIMFF 2022 as the opening show and also received the KIMFF Audience Award of Rs. 50,000. This 55-minute-long film from Nepal by directors Bidhya Chapagain and Kamal Kumar depicts the adventures of honey hunters from Jajarkot in Karnali Province. The four wild honey pilots whose lives are bound together with the cliffs of Khal Taakuri where their ancestors believed that wealth is found inside a tiger’s jaw.
Along the extreme topography of Jajarkot, and across the mental and emotional geographies of the tenacious human spirit, Bagh ko Bangara is a story about the perilous journey into the tiger’s jaw. The people in these mountains have undertaken this journey for generations, always one step away from death. Now, for the first time, the rest of the world can witness it.
Notable Films and Documentary at KIMFF 2022
“An Army’s Sister of Ingi Hopo Koinch Sunuwar, Hajur” by Pinki Sris Rana received Special Mention 1 and Special Mention 2 awards under Nepal panorama receptively. Likewise, “The Iron Digger” by Anil Budha Magar and “Wheels on the Bus” by Surya Shahi received the Best Documentary and Best Fiction awards receptively. Films like “Au-dela des haues vallees” by Maude Plante Huaruk and Maxime Lacoste- Lebuis, “Kumari: A Father’s Dream” by Sean O’Connor received the Special Mention 1 and Special Mention 2 awards under the International competition.
Likewise, “Yukon, Un Reve Blance” by Mathieu Le Lay, “Sophie Lavaud- Lady 8000” by Lisa Roosli and Carolin Fink and “The Second Summit” by Hugo Saunders also received awards in the festival.
The festival concluded with a special screening of ‘Fly From Everest’, a film on an Australian paraglider’s attempt to fly off Mt. Everest to help raise funds to eradicate polio.
The festival brought many filmmakers, film enthusiasts, critics, scholars, journalists, artists, and mountaineers together for several special screenings, dialogues, and discussions on the future of Nepali film industry