The opening of the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (KIMFF) was held at Rastriya Sabha Griha on December 7. Ramyata Limbu, Festival Director, KIMFF welcomed everyone to the festival which was followed by Basanta Thapa, Festival Chairman highlighting about significant aspects of the festival. The lighting of the traditional lamp by the jury members Per Fly, Sanjay Barnela and Prakash Sayami indicated the beginning of the festival. The festival, which is organised by Himal Association, will continue till December 11.

The first screening was of a film Sari Soldiers by Julie Bridgham. The film revolved around the life of six different women who have been affected by Nepal’s conflict. Each one of them has a different story to share be it the Maoist leader who feels that they are leading the country to a beautiful future or the old lady, a leader of a civilian uprising against the Maoists whose family has been tortured by the Maoists and is against it. Then there is this strong woman who is fighting for justice, the mother of a ‘disappeared’ daughter by the army and wants the guilty prosecuted. The human rights lawyer who is consistently working on cases to help hundreds of other women whose family members have ‘disappeared’. The other side of conflict has also been shown through the story of a young woman who has joined the army because she feels her country needs her and this is the best way to serve her country at the time of need. And the role of the youth to bring down monarchy has been depicted through a student political leader. The strong conviction that what they are doing is best for their country shows how powerful a role women play in society. They can not only contribute but also bring about significant changes with their sheer determination.

It is the boldness and strength of these women that Bridgham has captured that makes the

film interesting. The film has six completely different stories perfectly intertwined with each other. Though the six women have completely contrasting views one does not seem to dominate the other. The film is gripping throughout with conversations and events during the conflict, which have been captured and blended well.

Do watch Sari Soldiers and if this was a preview of what to expect from the festival then valley denizens sure have interesting five days to look forward to.