As we are appoaching the final stages of the Headwind project with the upcoming release of the documentary and the publication of the novel that’s now only weeks away it is a good moment to explain a little bit about the work that we’ve done and the router we’re following. And ofcourse I do understand the eagerness of some to see the film and the curiousity they might have concerning what the film really is about. So today I’ll write a little bit about that.
We’re now over one and a half year underway in the Headwind project in in that period of time we (Eveline van de Putte, Vidhyapati Mishra and I) have been working closely together on the production of this film. I can safely say as the director of this documentary that it is their film and creation just too. We’ve made over 50 hours of mostly very interesting (and sometimes boring) video footage, some 18.000 photo’s of which thousands are good and certainly hundreds are brilliant. We’ve talked to I don’t know how many people and experiences joy and hardship, excitement and disillusion. We’ve shared good times and sadness and we’ve become close friends. And in the meanwhile I wrote a book.
Headwind, the exiles from Bhutan is an essay style human rights / human interest documentary. It didn’t start to become the type of film it nos is. Because when you make a film you start with an idea. Then after research and initial experiences that idea starts shifting and then you just go out there and shoot your footage. When sitting at the editing desk killing great footage and skipping amazing material because is doesn’t fit in you slowly get to understand what you’re actually making. And if you’re lucky the story of the film, the characters and the events start working together and telling you the real story that the film is about. In the editing the magic happens. And in the editing stage the directors hair color changes slowly into grey. Now that I am at about a quarter of the editing I can safely say that this stage is best described as ‘editing hell’. And we’re right in the middle of it. The good thing is that we’re certain that we’re making a great documentary that is in some aspects unique and is certainly compelling. And hey, it’s even in some aspects beautiful to see because of the great footage that’s in there.
The team got expanded recently and now we have a music director, my dear friend Max Douw amongst his many talents not only has an amazing stage presence but also a great musical talent that allows him to connect music to images. Together with a number of Nepalese musicians and some already recorded music he will be able to make a great soundtrack. And so, Headwind is more than a film but also an musical experiment that will comprise into a soundtrack that will be seperately available on cd.
The story that Headwind, the forgotten exiles from Bhutan tells is best described in the following text that we use for promotion:
In 1972 the king of Bhutan invented the concept of Gross National Happiness to measure his peoples wellbeing.
Between 1990 and 1992 the government of Bhutan exiled almost 20% of its population through ethnic cleansing.
They have been living in refugee camps in Nepal ever since. But now they are being resettled to another world and into diaspora.
This film shows the other side of Bhutan and the other side of Gross National Happiness. This film deletes that myth and show what really happens when people are exiled from Shangri-La.
Headwind tells the story of indivuals from a few families from the refugee community. Living in the camps, being resettled and after resettlement. It shows their joys and troubles and the daily lives they lead. An at the same time the film explains their history and helps the viewer to make up their own mind about third country resettlement by asking questions and explaining historical fact in connection with political choices made by the international community in regard to the exiled Bhutanese.
Last year, while in Kakani in the mountains not far from Kathmandu, I wrote a novel: Headwind, Laxmi‘s Story. It is finished and soon to be published. It tells the story of the imaginary Laxmi who is a compilation of many of the young Bhutanese women I’ve met. She doesn’t exist as a single person but she does exist in the combinde experiences of real life people I know.
Laxmi lives in the Netherlands for three years already and in the story tells about the challenges and successes of her new life in the country where she got resettled. She tells about her memories of the camp where she was born and raised and she struggles and fights to get reunited with her boyfriend who now lives in the United States and who she still loves very much. In this novel many topics are addressed: the life of a refugee from Bhutan, resettlement, integration in western society, discrimination, life in the refugee camps and issues like gender based violence, arranged marriages and the effects of the caste system. It is a complicated novel because of all the topics covered but in spite of that it still is very readable and to my own opinion the best book I’ve written so far.
Both film and book will become available before the summer. Just stay tuned to this place and http://www.headwindfilm.com for regular updates, announcements and offers.
Headwind, the forgotten exiles from Bhutan is a White Stork Films production.
Headwind, Laxmi’s Story is a WoordenStorm publication.
Alice © 2012