The 19th edition of the Kathmandu International Film Festival (KIMFF) kicked off in the Capital on December 9 with the theme of 'Climate Karma' and is screening more than 60 films from 28 countries.

The festival, that had just screened films online last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is back with the screening of films both online and in-person.

The opening that saw the presence of a masked audience, saw environmentalist and Rolex Award laureate Sonam Wangchuk from Ladakh highlighting realities of human activities affecting the environment and religion.

"I like the festival's theme of this year - Climate Karma. Climate change is too serious which has to be discussed in the street, and societies. This world has seen many such serious challenges in the past and we have been fighting to solve them." Highlighting the importance of religion and culture to protect the environment, he stressed on the need of redefining education, culture, liberation, mitigation, defences, film-making and film-maker.

A short documentary Dream Mountain - directed by Kyle Ruddick - was also screened at the event. It is about Nepali mountaineer Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita who climbed Mt Cholaste, a 6,440m peak leaving behind her two-year old son.

"In the beginning, everyone told me that mountaineering is difficult for women and it will be even more difficult after you give birth. I even tried to give up mountaineering but could not as it was my passion. I thought I would be successful if I could manage everything - household chores, taking care of child, and mountaineering. Now, my family is also happy with my success."

According to Festival Coordinator Nishita Thapa Magar, the event aims to make audience be concerned about the environmental issues and think about the solutions to reduce the adverse effects of climate change around the globe through the medium of films.

Magar also informed that there are different competitive categories in the festival - KIM- FF and the European Union will present 'Green Growth-Green Recovery', a short film competition for Nepali filmmakers; KIM- FF and Save the Children will present a TikTok Challenge calling people to take action for the environment while KIMFF's Nepal Panorama will showcase exciting films by local talent. Journalist and climber Mario Casella from Switzerland, journalist and filmmaker Caroline Fink from Switzerland and Nepali theatre artiste and director Anup Baral are the festival jury. The jury will select the top three films in the international competition and the top documentary film and fiction film in the Nepal Panorama section.

Along with Dream Mountain, A Baby is Born, After Antarctica, Agua Desgasta Roca , The Journey of Ultimate Climate Challenge Huozhou Rapid Descent, Vadiyar among other films being screened at the festival.

The festival is showcasing films online as well as at the Film Development Board till December 13.

A version of this article appears in the print on December 10, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.